Day of Contention

This being Contentions Bashing Day, I think this Fred Siegel post shouldn’t go unremarked upon:

In his new book The Squandering of America (reviewed in the November issue of COMMENTARY), liberal economist Robert Kuttner describes his dismay at discovering that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party has gone upscale. “I have attended Democratic fund-raising events in the Park Avenue homes of investment bankers,” he writes, “where there was plenty of enthusiasm for human rights, morning-after pills, and climate change, but nary a word about financial regulation or social investment.”
Kuttner’s ideological soulmate, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, lodges a similar complaint about the Democrats’ refusal to close “the hedge fund tax loophole—which allows executives at private equity firms and hedge funds to pay a tax rate of only 15 percent on most of their income.” The Democrats, he concludes are “wobbled by wealth.”

Siegel goes on to describe this as “nothing new”, and attributes the upper-classing of the Democratic party to George McGovern, he of the basic income (and if there’s anything the upper classes love, it’s giving everyone $6,500 a year). On the contrary, Mr. Siegel, a political climate in which anyone could mistake Bob Kuttner and Paul Krugman for ideological soulmates is new indeed. It certainly couldn’t have happened a decade ago.

2 thoughts on “Day of Contention

  1. I have enormous respect for Paul Krugman on almost all issues. I have no read Kuttner as much, but maybe I would see him with equal regard if I did. I can’t say that I am impressed with Kuttner’s back-biting though.

  2. They have roughly the same instincts (valuing income equality, supporting a broader welfare state, etc.) but Kuttner is much more suspicious of the free market; he repeatedly bashed Krugman in the ’90s for backing NAFTA and the WTO. Since then, the common cause of opposing Bush has brought their views into a certain synergy, but then again Bush tends to provoke “enemy of my enemy” alliances.

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