Mar 29, 2014
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Comments Off on Right on the money: concentrated wealth versus democracy

Right on the money: concentrated wealth versus democracy

Quiz for today: who said this?

The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power.

Answer: Teddy Roosevelt in a 1910 speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. Paul Krugman quotes Roosevelt to make the case that taxing the rich to safeguard democracy is as American as apple pie. Krugman also quotes Irving Fisher’s 1919 presidential address to the American Economics Association, warning of the dangers of “an undemocratic concentration of wealth.”

“How,” Krugman asks,” did such views not only get pushed out of the mainstream, but come to be considered illegitimate?”

Good question. Krugman’s conclusion is right on the money:

[T]he demonization of anyone who talks about the dangers of concentrated wealth is based on a misreading of both the past and the present. Such talk isn’t un-American; it’s very much in the American tradition.

Read his column here.

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