Friday, April 25, 2014

Ryan Grim — Elizabeth Warren Simplifies Thomas Piketty: 'Trickle Down Doesn't Work. Never Did'

The No. 2 author on Amazon's best-seller list, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, weighed in Thursday night on the No. 1 book, identifying overlapping themes.
At a reading at the Harvard Book Store, the Massachusetts Democrat, author of A Fighting Chance, was asked about Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and specifically about its contention that trickle-down economics "definitively do not work."Warren cut in. "Can we say that part again? 'Definitely do not work,'" she repeated. "Not as in that's somebody else's opinion or this comes out of a long-held political opinion. The data don't lie on this. He's got good historical data, and boy, what it shows is trickle down doesn't work. Never did, doesn't work. Just so we're all clear on the baseline. I just saved you 1,100 pages of reading." (The book is shorter than that; Warren may have assumed the audience would also read the online technical index.)
Warren, whose own book was going to be titled Rigged but ultimately went out with a more hopeful title, said that while Piketty's book could elicit despair, she found a hopeful note in it, too.
"You can read his book and you just wanna say, 'Ugh.' Because it says over and over -- look, I'll tell you the basic theme: The rich get richer," Warren said.
The Huffington Post
Elizabeth Warren Simplifies Thomas Piketty: 'Trickle Down Doesn't Work. Never Did'
Ryan Grim

As far as neoliberals are concerned, the the rich getting richer is what capitalism is all about, and distribution is beside the point. "A rising tide lifts all boats."

This is shaping up as the major theme in the 2016 general election, and Elizabeth Warren has Pope Francis in her corner.
"Here's the hopeful part in Piketty's book: Piketty makes the point that although the data keep documenting this happening, it's not like an act of nature. It's not like gravity and you can't fix it," Warren said. "Piketty's book makes the point that how much equality there is ... is a matter of the policies you choose to follow and that, for example, progressive taxation and investment in everyone's education helps to level the playing field...."
"It is a time when we made those investments that built America's great middle class and we made those decisions -- not we in this room, but our parents, our grandparents, they made those decisions. They said, 'You put a cop on the beat so nobody steals your pension, you do that on Wall Street.' But they also said, 'You tax progressively and then you make those investments.' For those who made it big, God bless 'em, that's great, but they've gotta pay a piece of that forward so the next kid has a chance to make it big and the kid after that and the kid after that. That's what defines America."
Not a bad campaign speech.

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