The Myth of the Deserving Rich

Paul Krugman - New York Times BlogMany influential people have a hard time thinking straight about inequality. Partly, of course, this is because of Upton Sinclair’s dictum: it’s hard for a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. Part of it is because even acknowledging that inequality is a real problem implicitly opens the door to taking progressive policies seriously.

But there’s also a factor that, while not entirely independent of the other two, is somewhat distinct; I think of it as the urge to sociologize.

I’ve written about that urge in the context of poverty: many pundits and politicians clearly want to believe that poverty is all about dysfunctional families and all that, a view that’s at least 30 years out of date, overtaken by the raw fact of stagnant or declining wages for the bottom third of workers.

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