It would be easier at this point to start a list that names of everything that is not caused or tainted by racism, because it is becoming absurd. The latest from Nikole Hannah-Jones is that tipping is a legacy of slavery. No, she really said this, on Twitter last week:

This brought a hearty guffaw from economic historian Phil Magness, who has more than once prompted Hannah-Jones to take down a silly tweet, as she did again in this instance. (Though not before attacking Magness, who clearly lives rent-free in her head.)

But there’s more to this story than Hannah-Jones going off on a flight of malicious fancy. Phil wrote:

It’s not the first time that the 1619 Project has made bizarre claims that try to connect mundane aspects of everyday life to slavery. When investigating Hannah-Jones’s theory of tipping however, I soon discovered that claims linking the practice to slavery have recently become a trendy talking point of the economic far-left.

I caught up with Phil over the weekend in Dallas and decided to tape a quick interview with him about this fracas, but also to catch up on his work contesting the claims of income inequality that have made Thomas Piketty and his collaborators (Saez and Zucman) rich men, and some updates on the attacks on the Great Barrington Declaration that the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER, where Phil is a fellow) produced early in the COVID cycle.

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