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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Sunday, June 16, 2002




Happy Days Are Here Again

Paul Krugman is an incredible writer. No, really, look at the effect he had on this guy:

"Krugman: Plutocracy and Politics

Paul Krugman has two extraordinary excellences: the first is to figure out the way to model a problem in economics to make the answer obvvious (sic) and clear; the second is to say what is generally known in such a crystal-clear manner that thereafter it is hard to think of it in any other way."


Wow. But some of us have clung to our critical faculties and are still thinking about income inequality. Paul Krugman and one-time Republican Keith Phillips have furrowed our brow with their arguments that the rich are getting richer and the rest of us should tremble.

But perhaps I shouldn’t care. Is not the lot of the ordinary, everyday American improving steadily? Allow me to paraphrase one of the great US Presidents [Republicans click][Democrats click. Sorry, flashback. This might help] of this or any century, and ask:

Are you better off now than you were one hundred years ago?

Good question. And why ask me, heck, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast. But here is a long and fascinating piece which addresses that very topic, and I excerpt thusly:


"There is one central fact about the economic history of the twentieth century: above all, the century just past has been the century of increasing material wealth and economic productivity. No previous era and no previous economy has seen material wealth and productive potential grow at such a pace. The bulk of America’s population today achieves standards of material comfort and capabilities that were beyond the reach of even the richest of previous centuries. Even lower middle-class households in relatively poor countries have today material standards of living that would make them, in many respects, the envy of the powerful and lordly of past centuries"

That sort of good news deserves a a soundtrack. Please cue the soundtrack. Oh, why do all these links lead to seven hundred pop-ups? Fine, just hum "It's Getting Better" by the Beatles, Sgt. Pepper, you know it. And let’s thank the author for a nice abstract of a fascinating project.

So have a great day, everyone, and a better tomorrow. And an even better next century.


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