Noticeable and Unnoticeable Inequality

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in The Twenty First Century, has spawned a cottage industry of dissent.  Piketty uses masses of data to illuminate a growth in inequality, that he surmises is an inevitable result of capitalism and can only be resolved by painfully high taxes on the rich. For the left it is a pivotal work that brings data and credentialism to their ideology that capitalism is so flawed that it requires constant and strong control from the state.

Anti-Piketty is a collection of noted economists and political thinkers that find significant flaws with Piketty’s work.  These critiques include serious flaws with the data itself and how it is used, the difficulty of measuring the forms of income and inequality itself, conclusions that are not supported by the data, and a philosophically flawed concept of wealth, growth and capitalism.

From Anti- Piketty Chapter    17. Get Real: A Review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century by Donald Boudreaux

The shrinking gap between the real economic fortunes of the rich and the rest of us should calm concerns about the political dangers of the expanding inequality of monetary fortunes. If economic inequality is destined to dangerously destabilize our political institutions, it would have to be inequality that is readily noticeable. But the 1 percent’s private art collections, solid gold Jacuzzis, and (least of all) bank accounts are not on display for the 99 percent to gaze upon enviously. Those things are invisible to the public. Unlike a hundred years ago when upper-income people (and only upper-income people) were regularly seen motoring in automobiles or strolling in their clean, pressed, and patch-free clothing into restaurants, even the super rich today are largely indistinguishable in public from middle-class Americans. If you happened past Jeff Bezos strolling down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, you’d have no clue that he’s a billionaire. His dress, grooming, and physical health would look to the naked eye no different from that of countless middle-class Americans.

Piketty’s book itself ironically supports this point: progressives hail Capital in the 21st Century as supplying the best evidence yet that the trend of economic inequality has become, as Piketty describes it, “potentially terrifying” (2014, 571). But if people have to read a book to learn just how great is economic inequality, then that inequality is not salient to their daily lives.

Trump’s ‘Z’ Vote

from Selena Zito,  Why the generation after millennials will vote Republican

“Politically, Generation Z is liberal-moderate with social issues, like support for marriage equality and civil rights, and moderate-conservative with fiscal and security issues,” said Brauer.

“While many are not connected to the two major parties and lean independent, Gen Z’s inclinations generally fit moderate Republicans.”

The Republican Party, if it plays its cards right, could make lasting inroads with this generation, even at an early age — something the GOP has struggled with for decades.

Had he been able to vote last November, Bloomstine definitely would have picked Donald Trump for president.

“I was not old enough to vote for him, but I was very engaged and informed all throughout the election,” Bloomstine said. “I liked most his independence from the political parties and his willingness to challenge them when he felt they were not serving the American people.”


This is a fascinating analysis

The Great Equalizer

Inequality is a core political controversy, usually referring to inequality in wealth or income, concepts which are not synonymous.  We tend to equate inequality in income with inequality in power, but that does not always hold true.  If it was the great progressive trend in the welfare state and redistribution would not have occurred.

But there is one part of our lives that is always equal:  time.  We all get 24 hours a day, which we get to choose how to spend. Even when incarcerated, one has some control.  This leads me to one of my pet peeves:  people who insist on stating how busy they are.

Are they bragging?  Complaining?  Admitting that they have no self-discipline or self-control to manage their own life? Are they trying to tell you that you are not important enough for them to spend time with?

When you cannot keep an appointment, return a call, or finish a job and the reason is because you are sooooooooooo busy, all I hear is how unimportant I am to you.

We all get 24 hours a day to spend as we choose.

Front Page Pseudoscience

from Matthew Continetti at National Review, They’re Wrong About Everything

The fact is that almost the entirety of what one reads in the paper or on the web is speculation. The writer isn’t telling you what happened, he is offering an interpretation of what happened, or offering a projection of the future. The best scenario is that these theories are novel, compelling, informed, and based on reporting and research. But that is rarely the case. More often the interpretations of current events, and prophesies of future ones, are merely the products of groupthink or dogma or emotions or wish-casting, memos to friends written by 27-year-olds who, in the words of Ben Rhodes, “literally know nothing.” There was a time when newspapers printed astrology columns. They no longer need to. The pseudoscience is on the front page.

Also read The Media Disease….

Political Gaslighting

Kathy Griffin’s offensive display with a fake severed head of President Trump was made even more pathetic by her whining victimhood display afterwards. She tried to blame those white men who keep oppressing women like her.

How dare you be offended at my intentional offense!  Her attempt to turn the victim into the offender is classic gaslighting, the use of psychological means to make a victim question their own sanity.

I realize there is a little hypocrisy in all of us and the Democrats are quick to contend that the other side does this too. There are outrageous comments from the right, but it is time to call bullshit on this false equivalency. Can you image the depth of outrage of this stunt had been directed at Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, Pelosi, Obama or any other Democrat.

The New York Times tried to equate the recent Scalise shooting with Sarah Palin and the Gifford shooting in Tucson. David French at National Review properly refuted it:

Yesterday’s shooter, James Hodgkinson, left little doubt as to his political leanings and his political motivations. He was a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter, belonged to Facebook groups with names such as “Terminate the Republican Party” and “The Road to Hell is paved with Republicans,” and he was constantly sharing angry anti-GOP messages and memes. Before opening fire, he reportedly asked whether the players on the baseball field were Democrats or Republicans. In other words, all available signs point to an act of lone-wolf progressive political terrorism.

Also in National Review Kevin Williamson destroys this sense of equivalency in From Americans to Americans:

That being said, the actual immediate problem of political violence in the United States is overwhelmingly and particularly a problem belonging to the Left. This is not a “both sides do it” issue: Paul Krugman can speak on any college campus in this country without enduring mob violence and organized terrorism — Charles Murray cannot. There is not anything on the right like the mass terrorism behind the Seattle riots of 1999 or the black-bloc riots of the day before yesterday. The Democratic party, progressive organizations, and college administrations have some serious political and intellectual housekeeping to do here — but, instead, they are in the main refusing to acknowledge that they have a problem. The line between “Punch a Nazi!” and “Assassinate a Republican congressman!” is morally perforated.

The new hero of the left, Kamala Harris, demonstrates her gaslighting chops in her interrogation of Jeff Sessions.  When her rudeness and badgering is addressed by the chair, she became the victim. How dare you call her rude for her rudeness and constant interruption of the Attorney General; you must be a racist and a misogynist.

Rudeness, unreason, and perpetrating false equivalencies are justified as free speech. It is just a form of political gas lighting.