Willful Ignorance

October 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

As many of you know, David Brooks, the NY Times columnist who occasionally writes an intelligent essay, has, again, exhibited his inclination toward snide, smug intellectual snobbery.   This week, he offered his analysis of the Occupy Wall Street protests in a column entitled Milquetoast Radicals .

According to Brooks, the protesters are no more than a new version of Janis Joplin’s hit song, “I’m Gonna Buy Me a Mercedes Benz.”  That is, they merely express their jealousy of the life style of the rich and famous and demand to share the wealth.

Brooks apparently will never recover from a University of Chicago education featuring the gospel according to Milton Friedman.  Still, it is astonishing that he can’t perceive a group of people taking dead aim at the kind of free market capitalism that allowed Wall Street banks to upend the financial system.

He states that confiscating 50% of the top 1%’s wealth would not balance the budget.  That should take the prize for the week’s most misleading and meaningless statistic.  It has nothing to do with the frustration expressed by the OWLS.

It is not necessary for me to pick apart Brooks’ nonsense.   That has been well done by James Kwak, a co-author of “13 Bankers”, in his blog, The Baseline Scenario.  See Bathtubs for Beginners .  My friend Milton Lower has already distributed this gem to most of you.  If you haven’t seen it, you will enjoy Kwak’s effort to teach Brooks some elementary economic theory, not to mention some common sense.

If, as I hope, the OWLS continues to grow, it will be interesting to watch Brooks’ awkward walk back from his dismissive column.

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