Monday, March 14, 2011

Horatio Alger is dead

Katherine Kersten: an avatar of America's ignorance about itself

There is no profit in analyzing Katherine Kersten's latest bowl of tripe in any comprehensive way. But here's a summary:
Anybody who thinks that rich people should pay taxes at the same rate as everyone else is just a despicable layabout.
Yes, people who aspire to be somebody don't think that rich people should pay their fair share.


Because they plan to be rich someday, too. Katie tell us it is in our DNA:
These folks [examples of fictitious people, like Doug Tice's fancy fishmonger, mentioned in one of his op ed's recently] don't resent people who are more prosperous than they are. They admire higher earners who forged their own success, and they hope that they -- or their children -- will be among them. 
Such aspirations are possible in America, which has been called the greatest "anti-poverty program" in history. [probably by Katie herself]
We don't believe that "birth is destiny" -- a notion that holds people back even in advanced nations like France, which walls off its immigrants and restricts the upper class to those who have attended elite universities.
Oh, those fiendish French. Fie on the French! And we love immigrants!

My favorite of the three people that Katie makes up in her column is the engineering student:
Most of us know a college student who earns a pittance at his part-time job, but has -- say -- a promising engineering degree, and plans to parlay it into a productive and economically rewarding career. This young man doesn't resonate to calls for higher taxes on "the rich."
You can tell Katie made him up because - beyond Katie's general reputation for making things up - she uses the word "say."

But I've got some bad news for our pocket-protected eager beaver: the US ranks close to the bottom among several developed nations in economic mobility. Here's a chart from the link:

 Let's see, we beat the Brits, but they still have a monarchy. We're actually behind France - yes France - and Germany. But my favorites are the three leaders: Finland, Norway, and Denmark. Dens of socialist inequity, every one of them.

If there was a poll of the nation with citizens who think they have the most economic mobility, you can bet it would be the United States, including Pocket Protector, above.

Graphic by the great and imaginative Avidor

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