How do you restore the dignity supposedly missing from our capitalist society? According to the socialists at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), you restore dignity by having one group of Americans thieve from another, and you have government arrange the transaction. Where is William Graham Sumner when you need him most?
According to EPI’s latest briefing paper A New Social Contract: Restoring Dignity and Balance to the Economy:
The very role of government is to ensure that the prosperity of our economy is broadly shared among all hard working Americans and their families. Yet, in the past two decades, government has not only retrenched in its obligation to set rules in the economy that value all working Americans, but it has set rules that undermine everyday Americans. It is time for government to be on the side of working Americans.
The paper was presented at a recent EPI public forum where Paul Krugman, keynote speaker, provided the following words of wisdom:
So, if you say what would I really like if I went into a Rip Van Winkle sleep and woke up ten years from now, I’d like to wake up and discover that we have a national health care in some version with the necessary funding supplied in part by higher taxes on me, or actually, the top two percent of the income distribution. But people a lot richer than me, of course. But it’s not the whole story that the only thing you can do is taxes and social insurance. And the arc of history for the United States suggests that there’s actually a lot more that can happen.
And if you’re looking for a progressive agenda, certainly from my point of view, a large part of that ought to be straightforward orthodox stuff, which is still very hard to do politically. It would be essentially restoring progressivity of the tax system, and using the revenue to improve social insurance and, above all, health care.
But the amount of inequality in the United States is substantially less than it would be if we did not have still at least somewhat progressive taxation, and still a pretty extensive, though not nearly extensive enough, system of social insurance. And that makes a big difference. Certainly if you’re looking at say the United States versus Canada, a lot of the difference between the two countries is just that Canada has more of a better safety net financed by somewhat higher taxation.
Where is Bertrand de Jouvenel when you need his insights? Well, Sumner and de Jouvenel are still here; their reasoning simply remains lost to the Krugmans of the world. The Progressives and their government allies have had over a century to work out the kinks of their socialist utopia, yet it remains beyond their grasp.
Even Krugman notes that we don’t want the level of redistribution found in Cuba, but a level just to the north would begin solve the nation’s economic ills. How? By restoring dignity through repealing the tattered remnants of the concepts of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Sometimes it is as if the Soviet Union never imploded. I await the coming day when the New York Times finally changes its masthead to: Workers of the world, unite! That day won’t be soon enough for Krugman and his minions at EPI.