Within the last few days, I have seen one journalist after another recycle the following idea:
Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.
I know it’s fun to condescend to the President and the Congress, but seriously, people, it’s so much more complicated than this. Just think about it. When in your field of knowledge or your professional specialization, somebody comes up with a gross simplification of this kind, how does that make you feel?
In the novel Heart of a Dog by a great Russian writer of the Stalinist era Mikhail Bulgakov (and, incidentally, Stalin’s favorite writer), the main character, Sharikov, is transformed from a dog into a human being. He shocks his highly intellectual creators with his simplistic view of history. After reading the correspondence between Engels and Kautsky, the former dog announces that he knows how to fix the economy of the world: “We need to take everything from everybody and share it equally”, Sharikov announces.
Please, let’s stop imitating Sharikov already in his inane views of how the economy actually works.