Mr. Barro is a Neo-Liberal and Republican, so the claim that he somehow represents the 'Center' falls utterly flat. Or should I say that it is a confirmation of the bleak state of the stunted nature of America's political present!All this demonstrated to a tee by his argument against Piketti, couched most lusciously in seemingly indecipherable economic technical chatter: the man has gifts as a Capitalist apologist and the Social Democrat that he attempts to dismiss. Economic theology vs Empiricism and readable prose as the key to economic argument: see Richard Bronk's The Romantic Economist or Mr. Piketti's interview here:
A quote that demonstrates Piketti's ability to hew to a new or revived Economic paradigm:
'By studying wealth and capital—and in my book I use these two terms interchangeably—I am returning to the pre-Kuznets tradition of 19th-century economists who looked at wealth and inheritance. And novelists were of course very much interested in wealth in this period, because the entire society was constructed around wealth and capital.
One aspect of the book that many reviewers have commented on is the way you use examples from literature, particularly the dilemma that confronts Rastignac in Balzac’s novel Le père Goriot. Now you’re clearly not using those literary examples merely as decoration or light relief are you?
The primary reason for using these examples is that they influenced me a lot in my research. For a long time I’ve been trying to answer the “Rastignac dilemma” [that by marrying Mme Victorine, he’ll be able to get his hands on her fortune and achieve an annual income ten times that which he could earn as a royal prosecutor]. And I’ve been asking myself why it is that inheritance flows today seem to be lower than at the time of Balzac. What has changed? And it took me a long time to understand that, in a way, we are returning to very high inheritance flows. I’m not claiming that we’re returning to a world identical to Balzac’s, but in some ways we are in a transition.
Reading those 19th-century novels helped me to explore the question what has really changed since Balzac’s times. What are the deep reasons for those changes? Are they going to continue? Or can things go into reverse? What these novels show is that income and wealth are not only about numbers. They are about power relations between different groups of people. So using these literary references is a way to acknowledge that. It’s important to understand that behind the numbers, the data, you have social groups, people with hopes and disappointments. Money is always more than money.'
David Frum, as usual, dilutes the political conversation with apposite observations that go nowhere, but puts the political hedge first ,as the rhetorical leader followed by an utterly bogus assertion. This is the Frum methodology, that speaks to the inability of Conservatives to confront their dismal record on race,Foreign Policy and failed and failing Free Market paradigm. And his attack on Progressives supporting Putin also demonstrates his inability to emancipate himself from his own Russophobia, as a function of current Cold War Nostalgia! Neo-Consevatism ,in sum, is about sowing exploitable political discord and suspicion, something Mr. Frum touched upon when discussing cable television's dog eat dog competition, Free Market dysfunction? Oh no! Quite rightly, Mr. Scheer presents the counter-argument, he highlights American hypocrisy regarding it's unslakable imperial ambitions, with his usual intellectual clarity and brio! Thanks to him!!