Dear Paul Krugman

On one of my favorite blogs, Krugman in Wonderland, economist William Anderson regularly explains the pathology of the NYTimes’ flagship economics columnist.

Here he is, in an open letter to Paul Krugman, taking apart one of his recent columns, arguing for the repeal of the Bush Tax Cuts:

In your column today on extending the lower tax rates that now exist on the highest levels of income, you justify your point on two levels:

  1. The government needs more revenue and the state needs to take as much property as possible from private owners;

  2. Wealthy people are unlikely to spend every penny of their income immediately, so it is important for the Political Classes to get their hands on those funds, as governments will spend freely in the short run.

Thus, from what I can tell, you believe that it is the Very Duty of Everyone to spend everything quickly, and since you are advocating such beliefs publicly, I would like to challenge you to practice what you preach. Here are some suggestions…

He goes on to recommend that Krugman impose his own tax rates on himself; spend 100% of his current income; dump his investments; and refuse to buy commodities. He winds up this way:

I realize that you might be objecting by now. After all, why should you be the fall guy? However, as I read your words, you are claiming that there not only is an economic problem with paying less taxes, saving money, and abstaining from some personal spending in order to save for the future, but also a moral problem, then I would hate for you to be forced to act both unprofessionally AND engage in immoral behavior.

Holding the left accountable for its nutty philosophies? Nicely done.

  1. Humza Ahmad
    Jason Hart: I’m the farthest thing from an economist, but it doesn’t seem especially scientific that everything Krugman writes concludes government should soak the rich and spend more. · Aug 25 at 7:18pm

    Ditto, Mr. Hart, and allow me to paraphrase: I’m the farthest thing from an economist, but it doesn’t seem especially scientific that everything Krugman writes concludes that the Democratic Party is correct, or at least that the Democratic Party is more correct than the Republican Party.

  2. Mel Foil

    If we’re not rigorous enough in taxing the wealthy, the wealthy might go out and create even more wealth, and we don’t want that. Let some guy go out and earn a few hundred million bucks, and he’s hard to control. Even federal prosecutors can’t push him around anymore. It makes socialist domination…or rather, progress…social progress, that much harder. :)

  3. Jason Hart

    Insanity! It’s like expecting Al Gore to live in some 6,000 square foot hovel!

    My favorite thing about Krugman is the smarmy way he looks down at the pedestrian thinkers who don’t endorse limitless government. I’m the farthest thing from an economist, but it doesn’t seem especially scientific that everything Krugman writes concludes government should soak the rich and spend more.

  4. Kennedy Smith

    Does anybody read Krugman (I say this as one who has a majority of lib friends)? Sure, there are some, but they’re concentrated in very blue states. But really, who reads the NYT editorial page? About as many as watch Keith Olbermann.

    Useful as punching bags for us, but otherwise inconsequential.

  5. Kenneth

    Who’s a precious lil’ crypto-commie?

    You are!

    Yes you are!

    Just so adorable how grown-up you sound when you’re going on about wealth-confiscation – just makes me want to pinch your cute little fuzzy cheeks! Yes, it does!

  6. Gern Agonistes

    I don’t really understand why some smart economic thinkers on the Other Side don’t accept that the American people do not have a limitless appetite for taxing the rich through greater and greater marginal tax rates because we believe that there is an ultimate “fair level.” Maybe it’s 35%, maybe it’s 38.5% or whatever; but the highest level at which the well-off middle class is willing to accept for itself is really the highest level we think is far to apply to the richest persons. The poor should get a break on taxes–even though they are proportional–because they have hard lives and need a financial breather to make something of themselves.

    It’s not “What’s the matter with Kansas?” and it’s not that we are foolishly reserving for ourselves an abuse of the system if we happen against all odds to become rich, it’s just that we only ask as much of others as we are willing to have imposed against us. Sure, they keep more in absolute terms, but they pay more in absolute terms. Why is that so difficult to understand?