KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: Our economic policy used to reflect concerns over inequality. Thomas Piketty in his blockbuster book Capital in the Twenty-First Century points out that the U.S. was the pioneer in highly progressive taxation. In 1919, before any other nation, we ratcheted our top income tax rate up to 70%. Then progressively climbed up to a top rate of 94% in 1944.
It was only in the Reagan area that these rates were brought crashing down under the bizarre and ultimately incorrect belief that doing so would increase growth. For his trouble, Piketty has predictably gotten the full Cold War treatment. The National Review calls his book soft Marxism. Lord only knows what they are saying at less responsible outlets, or the comments section.
Even the aghast and ostensibly economically literate The Wall Street Journal tells him to read Animal Farm. Animal Farm, hmm. Isn't that Orwell's political parable of farm animals where a bunch of pigs hog up all the economic resources, tell the animals they need the food because they're the makers and then scare up a prospect of a phony boogie man every time their greed is challenged? Sounds familiar. Hey conservatives, it's time to stop the childish Cole War name-calling and deal with facts. Either that or be relegated to the kids and the crazy uncle table at holiday dinners.