Especially relevant in light of Thomas Piketty’s recent media coverage, I’ll quote BusinessWeek’s 10th April article on him:
” A 42-year-old professor at the Paris School of Economics has scored a surprise publishing hit, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, that proposes an unusual, possibly impractical, yet intriguing response to what he calls “the central contradiction of capitalism”: the tendency of wealth to grow faster than the gross domestic product, creating inequality that undermines democracy and social justice.
In a review last year, World Bank economist Branko Milanovic wrote that “we are in the presence of one of the watershed books in economic thinking.” In March, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that Piketty’s 685-page tome “will be the most important economics book of the year—and maybe of the decade.”
Most of the coverage of Piketty’s book has focused on his diagnosis, but the most interesting part is the cure. He proposes a global tax on capital—by which he means real assets such as land, natural resources, houses, office buildings, factories, machines, software, and patents, as well as pieces of paper, such as stocks and bonds, that represent a financial interest in those assets. “
As Congress stumbles into yet another budget/debt limit conference committee round of discussions, it appears that the losers along the way remain those at the bottom of the economic heap. On November 1st, all those receiving food stamps took a cut, with the specter of further cuts coming with the next round of budget talks. Seniors and disabled people face another anemic cost of living adjustment with further cuts being called for by the GOP in Social Security and Medicare. Meanwhile, the government shutdown didn’t cost Wall Street and the wealthy much of anything. The question arises as to why, despite the election results of a year ago and various polls showing popular disdain for GOP tactics in previous budget talks and the government shutdown, Democrats and Progressives always appear to be on the defensive in these discussions?
Talk constantly turns to some imaginary need to cut the programs that…
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