Monday, November 20, 2006

Good Old Populist Rage

Why do I feel GOPR when I read a piece like Greg Mankiw linked to (Larry Lindsey in the WSJ complaining about high tax rates)? I don't really know. Possibly because I'm sure that most highly paid people treat money as equivalent to gold stars--it's the status and the competitition, not really the goodies the money can buy. (Which means that a 92 percent tax rate, as when I grew up, doesn't inhibit production.) Or maybe it's the arrogance of someone who thinks he's "atlas" and an "entrepreneur", when he's really a modern witch doctor. See his web site.

I realize that he's justified in his language, at least in terms of common usage in the circles in which he moves, and he may well be a nice guy. And how can I be opposed to anyone who got fired for a warning about Iraq? Historians have a concept called "producerism", which the old Populists and my mother fiercely believed in. That ideology said that those who produced things were morally superior to those who just sat around on their rears. You couldn't feel proud of earning a living by talking or writing, you had to do. That may be why Dr. Lindsey's piece touches a sore spot.

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