Here is political analyst Michael Barone:
French economist Thomas Piketty’s book “Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century” has been inspiring a lot of comment and controversy. The English translation published last month zipped to No. 1 on amazon.com.
It has given a lift to economists on the Left who have cheered on Barack Obama’s flagging attempts to make income inequality a voting issue. They have hailed it as “truly superb” and “extraordinarily important.”
Others, not all on the Right, have taken a jaundiced view. “All wrong” was the verdict of one. “The main argument is based on two (false) claims,” concluded another.
Commentary about the 42-year-old Piketty’s book is certainly all over the web, and we can imagine the drooling praise taking place over at MSNBC. One of the more entertaining articles about it is by the New York Post’s Kyle Smith. Here’s his opening:
The No. 1 bestselling book on Amazon last week wasn’t about plucky teen girls battling for humanity in a futuristic dystopia. It wasn’t about a boy wizard or a college student who likes to be tied up and spanked.
No, it’s a 700-page French economics tome. And on the Left it’s been received with such a case of the hot-and-heavies that you can think of it as “50 Shades of Grey” for the Acela-corridor professional intellectual statist. “Oooh, hit me with the income-inequality chart again, please!”
The book is “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” by the ridiculously far-left French economist Thomas Piketty. As its title makes obvious, it’s an unabashed sequel/homage/reboot of “Capital,” Karl Marx’s logically challenged bible of income and wealth redistribution. Neo-Marxism is all Piketty is about.
That has made him the hero of the leading left-wing economics writers of the age, who are feeling momentarily emboldened to wave the red flag.
Smith also writes this, which the Weekly Standard called “an instant classic”:
“Piketty calls for a 60 percent income tax starting at $200,000, and 80 percent on those above $500,000 (or maybe $1 million).
“Taxation as a weapon of confiscation? Hot stuff to the beardy fellows in the tweed jackets with the patched elbows. Outside the faculty lounge, though, it doesn’t even pass the laugh test.
“But then again, Piketty doesn’t get out much. He admits in the book that he has barely left Paris in the last 17 years, except for a few brief trips. Not France: Paris. Paris is smaller than The Bronx. It has as much intellectual diversity as a staff meeting at Mother Jones.”
Read Smith’s article here.
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Other recommended articles include one by the Manhattan Institute’s Diana Furchtgott-Roth, “Taxing the Wealthy Even More Won’t Get Us Anywhere.” Early on in the post is this:
It’s simply untrue that capital is not taxed. It is overtaxed. But to justify higher taxes, Piketty makes at least four errors. (Space constraints prevent the discussion of others.)
You can read Furchtgott-Roth’s article here.
Among the things the Cato Institute’s James Dorn writes at Investors.com in his article, “Fighting Inequality: Rule Of Law Vs. Legal Plunder,” is this:
[Piketty] advocates a steeply progressive income tax with a top rate of 80% along with a wealth tax to reduce inequality, which he finds to be on the rise globally.
If his scheme were implemented, “legal plunder” (a term coined by the 19th century French liberal Frederic Bastiat) would undermine the rule of law, which is meant to safeguard persons and property, and turn the concept of justice on its head — from meaning the prevention of injustice to the use of force to dictate some politically favored distribution of income and wealth.
Read Dorn’s article here.
It wasn’t that long ago conservatives would use this line in speeches to get a laugh:
“Socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried, and yet politicians are continually saying, ‘Hey, let us try socialism!’”
That should be updated to read, “politicians and 42-year-old academics at the University of Paris.”
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.