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Krugman and Taxes

University of Chicago law professor – and Truth on the Market blogger – Todd Henderson has gotten Paul Krugman agitated.  I agree with Todd, except for his claim (if I understand him correctly in context) that “The best taxes are ones that people don’t notice”: costs unfelt are costs inadequately accounted for.

Relatedly, here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Paul Krugman alleges that rich opponents of tax hikes are gripped by “a belligerent sense of entitlement” (“The Angry Rich,” Sept. 20).  Well, yes: save for corporate-welfare kings and queens, rich people earn their riches.  They are, in fact, entitled to their money, and entitled to be angry when government tries to take more of it.

What Mr. Krugman derisively calls a “sense of entitlement” is what sensible people call “property rights.”  In fact, I’ll bet that Mr. Krugman himself retains traces of this pre-“Progressive” possessiveness: if government tried to take credit for 40 percent of his scholarly output – allowing him to sign his name to only 60 percent of his articles, books, and columns – I’ll bet that he, too, would exhibit “a belligerent sense of entitlement.”

Donald J. Boudreaux

UPDATE: Sad. Todd is a good man.