Thursday, February 22, 2018
Economics Blogger Shows He’s Learning About The Value of Private Capital

NEW YORK, NY  Feb. 22 (DPI) – New York Times economics blogger Jeff Sommer penned an all-over-the-place column based on something his father once told him: Billionaires are necessary because of their capacity for large-scale charity – think museums, university buildings, parkland – and because they pay, or at least used to pay, more taxes than the rest of us.

Sommer then threw in, somewhat randomly, a paragraph about the vast wealth of Trump’s appointees. Finally he wrote that he hoped that even billionaires could help build a more just society.

The apparent intention of the column was to remind Times readers – or simply confiscation-minded leftists – that all-out revolution may not be a good idea.  Such are the impulses of increasingly radicalized Democrats nowadays in this early Trump era. The column contained no comment thread.

But Sommer, who has scraped with economists in the past, conspicuously omits what’s by far the most important virtue of allowing billionaires to exist among us: They control and deploy private capital, capital that usefully pursues opportunity and innovation, free of the direction of apparatchiks, bureaucrats and government officials. Those private investments are a major – if not the major – driver of economic growth.  And it’s that growth which, by the way. steadily and quietly improves the lives of everyone in society.

Moreover – and aside from the separate problem of private money influencing democratic politics – the mere presence of private capital in a society is an important counterweight to the coercive and ever-expanding power of the state.

Many of these ideas, while hardly new, get a fresh look in a recently published book by Hunter Lewis, “Where Bernie Went Wrong”, an examination of Bernie Sanders’s rear-view-mirror economic views.


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