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Very Dry Water, Hard-Frozen Fire, and the Ostentatious Invisible Rich

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

In his New York Times blog on Wednesday – in a post entitled “Having It and Flaunting It” – Paul Krugman complained that America’s rich are obsessed with exhibiting their wealth in the form of “ostentatious” consumption. Indeed, Mr. Krugman asserted that “for many of the rich flaunting is what it’s all about…. [I]t’s largely about display.” And this display, Mr. Krugman alleged, “imposes negative externalities on the rest of the population.”

A mere five days later, in his New York Times column today – a column entitled “Our Invisible Rich” – Mr. Krugman gripes that the reason more Americans aren’t infuriated by today’s great income inequality is that “the truly rich are so removed from ordinary people’s lives that we never see what they have.”

Mr. Krugman is here ostentatiously inconsistent!

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030


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