You have to love the way progressives work.
And the work pays – usually at taxpayer expense.
A case in point is liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
Krugman’s specialty is whining about “income inequality” and demanding that government do more redistribution, in spite of all evidence indicating such efforts are the cause of the problem rather than the solution.
For his good works, Krugman has been rewarded, much to even his surprise, with an offer to become a professor, or “distinguished scholar,” at the taxpayer-funded City University of New York’s Graduate Center and Luxembourg Income Study Center for $225,000 a year. Does that sound like a lot of money? Well, get this: The offer does not even require teaching. It’s a show job, one that promises, according to graduate school president, a “comfortable perch.”
So what does he have to do for the dough?
The offer letter explains: “[Y]ou will not be expected to teach or supervise students.” What then? “Instead, you will be asked to contribute to our build-up of LIS and the inequality initiative and to play a modest role in our public events.”
In other words, it’s vague. But they wanted him to have the money. Perhaps it’s part of CUNY’s war on income inequality. Krugman will be asked to teach one seminar per year starting in the second year of his contract. At least he’ll have plenty of time to prepare.
Even Krugman was surprised by the offer.
In his letter of acceptance, he wrote: “I admit that I had to read it several times to be clear … it’s remarkably generous.”
Remarkably generous, indeed, which is why I’m remarking on it. It’s even more remarkable when you consider the offer is to pay with other people’s money – namely taxpayers.
By the way, this is hardly the first time Krugman has been so honored and rewarded for whining about income inequality.
He was awarded a Nobel Prize. He was awarded the John Bates Clark Medal, one of the highest distinctions available to a living economist.
“Perhaps I’m being premature or forward,” Graduate Center President Chase Robinson said in an email to Krugman, “but I wanted you to have no doubt that we can provide not just a platform for public interventions and a stimulating academic community – especially, as you will know, because of our investments in the study of inequality – but also a relatively comfortable perch.”
But this is merely an illustration of how so-called “progressives” scratch each other’s backs, take care of their heroes and do it over and over again with other people’s money.
It’s not only ironic that they pay big bucks to whine about income inequality, it’s a teaching moment for those who do not understand why the left is not only whining but winning, despite the counter-productiveness and destructiveness of its alleged solutions.
When was the last time you saw a brilliant conservative economist honored like this?
Walter Williams? No.
Thomas Sowell? No.
Arthur Laffer? No.
Why not? Because people like the above are considered the enemy at America’s liberal academic institutions. They have to make money the old fashioned way – by earning with their work, their books, their writings and their lectures. What a concept!
Indeed, for progressives, redistribution of wealth is really about taking money away from people they don’t like and giving it to those they do like.
We don’t always get illustrations like Paul Krugman that make is so easy to see. More often, it’s done in broad strokes in which preferred constituencies and groups get money from non-preferred constituencies and groups.
For instance, not only does the Internal Revenue Service give carte blanche tax-exempt approval to progressive groups, it actually doles out billions in the form of federal grants and contracts, to the latter. When was the last time you saw a federal grant go to a conservative 5019(c)(4)? You can think about that for a long time, and I don’t believe you will be able to come up with one.
This is one reason government should not be so big. It becomes a self-perpetuating monster – by promoting and subsidizing those who want to give it even more power. The other reason, of course, is that it spells the end of liberty – and, ironically, equality, something progressives claim to love.
Media wishing to interview Joseph Farah, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.