Comments: 300

  1. It was once said that "It's difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it". The same theory applies to those who are singularly motivated by wealth accumulation and greed. For some, there is no transgression, act of cruelty, etc.. that overrides their thirst for wealth. Basic human greed provides them with the ability to rationalize and overlook all harm done to anyone except them and theirs.

  2. @Basic Upton Sinclair. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” They are "singly" motivated, don't you mean? It does seem singular to us ordinary people, but historically it's quite general (amongst the wealthy).

  3. It's amazing how many Billionaire$ don't learn from history that capitalism was not a successful economic model until feudalism ended, there was the Magna Carta to establish the rule of law, then flourishing democracies which subjected the ultra-wealthy and powerful to laws and norms. Then again, we all know from the '08 melt-down that greed does not stop people from destroying that which sustains them - just as we see so many denying climate change because it fattens their wallets and IRAs to engage in said denial.

  4. @R. Law Another example of the tragedy of the commons. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you made it clear.

  5. @Thomas - Thanks; it's another situation where facts and pretty much all of human history for the last millennium proves that democracy is more important than capitalism, despite the fact a recently-withdrawn Fed nominee famously claims the opposite.

  6. @R. Law I’m guessing that Trump voters aren’t that impressed when Democratic defenders of “rule of law” are the perpetrators of sanctuary cities.

  7. Bravo, and may your words travel from your lips to Bloomberg’s ears.

  8. @Susan You are funny and that is immensely valuable at this sour time. I heard Bloomberg speak thinking that funding Everytown for Gun Safety event in Des Moines on Saturday bested Elizabeth Warren's 'wealth tax'. He not quite Steve Ross, but his self-satisfaction only shines more light on the valiant Elizabeth Warren.

  9. The republican party (now having been completely gutted by this President) is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. This has been the case for decades for the party and especially for the President. He has run his business as a buy in for others (especially banks), and when the largess becomes too big, it then collapses and declares bankruptcy. (which essentially lets him walk away with almost everything, leaving nothing for anyone else) This is going to be the case after the next election. The Ponzi scheme will collapse when he and the republican party are wiped out at the polls. The country will be left with massive debt on the monetary side and a deficit in prestige all around the world. It is will multiple generations, let alone election cycles to unravel and undo the damage. This is because the country cannot declare bankruptcy.

  10. That’s what Trump has always done - take over a business, pay the workers as poorly as you can or not at all, declare bankruptcy, then line his own pockets. He’s using the same method on our country.

  11. @FunkyIrishman In his businesses, Trump has always hired enough lawyers to beat the other party, except when the "other party" also has resources. In this case, the "other party" is the country. Once Trump is out of office, he is going to be embroiled in more legal action than ever, much of it against the US Government, with a DoJ run by Democrats. If you think Jeffrey Epstein was looking at a big legal problem, wait until you see how big Donald Trump's legal problems are going to be. The amount of evidence of malfeasance and non-feasance will be stunning.

  12. @FunkyIrishman - You are correct that it will take a generation to undo Trump's damage at home and abroad. When he was elected, my daughter called me at 0700 the next morning in tears, so my consoling statement was: The folks that voted for him and the EC that chose him (since he was not elected by the people) will not get what they anticipate (their purchase was broken in the box) and your generation will have to fix it. Stay diligent and get in the faces of Trump supporters, as they know nothing of politics, but only resentment of those smarter than themselves. One day, they will become emotionally aware and look in the mirror to realize their problem is staring back.

  13. Rich industrialists financed the Nazis for sure and I think the other fascist governments in Italy and Spain as I recall. They are drawn to fascism like flies. Money does not equal brains except in tech.

  14. @AA Aristotle's best known book, Nicomachean Ethics, in its most quoted passages takes the point that AA has made and applies it to humanity in general. He says that a man who is a master of shoemaking will consider himself wise, because he is wise in one field. Aristotle then points out that a master of one trade or business will therefore think himself wise in how to govern the state, when this is not the case.

  15. @Jim Preston Tech in no exception. History and a good look around will tell you that. There is evidence that having and using power may cause actual, physical changes in the human brain -- and often not for the better. Let's go back to the tax brackets of the second Eisenhower term. Even things up. Reclaim our sense of all being Americans. Not hyphenated Americans -- simply "Americans".

  16. @Jim Preston The biggest brains in tech tend not to be the billionaires but the people they hire. No doubt Bill Gates is smart in general, but that doesn't make him a good policy-maker (I think his record is mixed). Zuckerberg is virtually the type specimen of smart in one limited way and that's all. Jobs, who was probably smarter than either of them, was also narrow.

  17. "Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime." Bingo. This is what is at stake in 2020, and the mainstream media is being dishonest if they pretend otherwise. And Democrats are the idiots if they fail frame the voters choice as such.

  18. @Michael Pappas I'm sorry, you are both too critical and too uncritical. What have Republicans always wanted? A complete absence of workers' rights. Slavery is the end state, but any type of modern serfdom will do. They could care less about their white confrere underlings. Trumpism is about de-humanizing workers, starting with immigrant workers, and extending that treatment to all other workers. The white underclass might be comforted by the assumed shielding their race gives them from being cheated/defeated, but they have no allies in Ivanka and Don Jr.

  19. @Michael Pappas The 2020 election seems so far away. May we limp in to the voting booth to cast the vote. The line you pulled is a fearsome thought. Viewing events from our own news sources and perspectives of other countries of what is happening here, dark events strike a chord of 1936 and send a chill through my political, ethical, human bones.

  20. @Phein60 First, the immigrant workers.......... You nailed it. For those who want to remember the quote - "First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me."

  21. The super wealthy are probably under the illusion that money and power can buy immortality. Don’t be afraid of dying, we all do.

  22. @Phyllis Indeed. I think they ''spend'' essentially their entire lives believing they are swindling everyone else, but it is really themselves they are doing so. They do believe that money is power, and that one single person cannot have too much power. They buy into whatever person they perceive will give them more power. (access) They are doing it with this President, and as you say, they will be disappointed with the end result, of which we all come to. Who wants to live forever anyways.

  23. @Phyllis Mazik yes, they're building 'Safe Houses' to guard against impending food shortages and social collapse due to climate change. How long will they be able to hold out when it all goes pear shaped? Plus, I've experienced the phenomena in Silicon Valley....after the first 5 mill, they're jeaulous of the 10 mil set, who's jeaulous of the 20 mil set. Self awareness, humility and empathy go right out the window.

  24. @Phyllis Indeed. I think they ''spend'' essentially their entire lives not trying to fool anyone else, but themselves. They do believe that money is power, and that one single person cannot have too much power. They buy into whatever person they perceive will give them more power. (access) They are doing it with this President, and as you say, they will be disappointed with the end result, of which we all come to. Who wants to live forever anyways.

  25. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. First they came for..... Then there was no one left..... When they came for me. Keep educating the public and being brave.

  26. @Dave. Invest your money in voter registration in purple states.

  27. @Dave And then they came for the billionaires. "They are in the attic," up went a chorus of voices.

  28. "People who’ve studied the extremely rich argue that money, for them, is largely not about being able to buy things but is instead a way of keeping score; their satisfaction comes not from more consumption but from overtaking their perceived peers." Veblen would find that to be an interesting observation. If the scoring can't be seen (like having one's tenth Citation) does it generate the same impact on one's dopamine "wealth" receptors. The truth is that extreme wealth turns just about everyone into somewhat of a sociopath, unable to have any empathy for "the lower orders". Oh sure, they give a lot to charity but that too is simply a variant of conspicuous consumption. When I was an executive in a health insurance company back in the 90's, the compensation consultants would come in and say that if the executive team did not get more money, they would all leave to go to higher paying companies. While this was really not true by any objective measure, the board bought it an our salaries and bonuses exploded even though we really didn't work all that much harder. It was just free money. So the marginal utility of that added money did not result in actually harder work. Now think of the poor person who IS working so much harder, often multiple jobs. They actually deserve more money. But no, it goes to the enabled wealthy. What would Marx say? Oh, and what would Jesus say?

  29. @Mike "The rich have to be paid more so that they will work harder, but the poor have to be paid less so that they will work harder." - seen on a fortune cookie.

  30. @Mike Marx might well say that if you allow the rich to take advantage then eventually the mass of poor deprived people will rise up and correct the imbalance.( eg: Russian/French/Chinese revolutions.) Jesus might say that the poor will always be with us so get out there and help them.

  31. @Mike A very small critique of one tiny point of your excellent comment, if I may: Cessna Citations (a modest biz jet for the uninitiated) are for mere arrivistes who've just made their first 100 million dollars. For billionaires - nothing but the latest Gulfstream V will do. They're three times the weight of the the plebeian Citation with twice the range. The Citation will barely get you cross-county. The Gulfstream V will get you to London, Cannes and St. Moritz. And once you've bought your third Gulfstream, then you move up to the BBJ (Boeing Business Jet). These are full-sized 737s, 747s, 757s, 767s, 777s and 787s - all customized to order with full-sized baths, bedrooms, conference rooms, dining rooms and bars. 200-foot long flying mega-yachts, if you will. And they start at $100 million for the 737 version - and go up from there. Boeing has sold over 200 of all versions of these highly-customized BBJ aircraft so far. No self-respecting deca-billionaire should be without one. And no, Trump's 757 is not a BBJ. Trump couldn't possibly afford one. Trump's 757 is a 28 year-old former airliner (once part of a struggling Mexican airline's small fleet - isn't that rich?) that he picked up cheap and then had the interior re-done to look just like what a petty vulgarian would imagine a rich person would do. My modest point - the uber-rich are way, way beyond counting Cessna Citations. BTW, all stats from Wikipedia. Check them out if you wish.

  32. I haven't been able to read Krugman since 2017, after Trump's ascendancy. It's just too painful. I believe Krugman is pretty much always right, but I also believe that the majority doesn't care about truth anymore. Otherwise, why would they have voted for Trump? (Yes, I know they weren't an absolute majority, but close enough - we're stuck with Trump.) Krugman is doing the heroic thing and continuing to tell the truth even though the majority doesn't care. That's admirable, but also it makes me sad.

  33. @Bob G. "the majority doesn't care about truth anymore." Unfortunately, you are correct. A large group of the population are foolish and easily mislead by Fox, Rush, Coulter, and company. It is said that the average person in American has about $7,000 in credit card debt. Now that is pure foolishness when you consider the monthly interest payments they have to make. A person who would carry that much credit card debt would probably fall for anything. At any rate I would rather know the truth rather than to not know it. All that we can do is conduct our lives as best we can. I think you will have a better life if it is conducted on the basis of truth. Best wishes and stay positive.

  34. @Aubrey Well, now they can hope that the credit card companies will forgive their debt, like one did the Canadians' credit card debt, and soak the rest of us to make it up.

  35. @White Buffalo Yes, they can hope. There is always hope. But I won't count on it, would you? Thanks for your comment and best wishes.

  36. Very well said! Most people think that the super rich are interested in tax cuts so that they can make even more money. But, as Krugman eloquently points out, making even more money, when perched on top of a money mountain, does not bring added access to material goods or happiness in consuming those goods. After all, "having a 45,000-square-foot house instead of just 40,000, or flying to one of your multiple other residences in a bigger private jet, won’t make you significantly happier." It is all about keeping score. "I have 12 Gulf Stream jets" says one super rich billionaire intending to hurt the ego and sense of self-esteem to his other super rich billionaire friend who might have only 10 private jets. For most of us commoners, a pay raise or a tax cut adds to our disposable income. For some of the super rich that is not the case; after all their income and wealth already allows them to buy whatever they wish to buy. Their greed for additional tax cuts and more wealth comes from their desire to preen like a peacock and show off their additional feathers to their peers. Simple as that!

  37. @chickenlover The super rich think they are buying respect. Maybe even love and loyalty. Go back a couple of years to a small dinner party in Florida hosted by presidential candidate Mitt Romney and a recording device on a cabinet; to see what they really think about the peasants.

  38. I’ve long applied the label “neofeudalism” to what the Trumpist billionaires are seeking: a static society with themselves and their progeny as a permanent hereditary aristocracy, pledging fealty to whatever king will indulge their vices to the limit. Sound familiar? The original feudal aristocrats eventually were displaced by new fortunes derived from trade, which may explain King Donald’s fondness for destabilizing trade relationships with tariffs and threats.

  39. The billionaires who pander to Trump believing it will only increase their wealth, power and control, are in for a big shock when Mother Nature reveals who’s really in charge. Even private luxury jets won’t fly in extreme heat. Instead of planning fundraisers, perhaps the billionaires should be boning up on survival tactics........

  40. @Patti The rich are boning up on survival tactics. They are buying underground bunkers in remote locations to shelter them not only from the heat but from other human beings. The only sticking point is how to prevent their own armed security guards from taking over the bunker for themselves but they are working on that problem.

  41. @Patti. Yeah, they can buy that too.

  42. At least some, and maybe quite a few, of them do that as well.

  43. Can someone explain the controversy over 'replacement theory' for me? The Democrats tell us that demographic change is tilting the political landscape in their favour, due to legal and illegal immigration from south of the border and higher birth rates among that population. Does anyone deny that the US is approaching a majority minority population. Is calling that 'replacement' seen as inherently racist or xenophobic? Or is the objection that the far right is talking about it as a negative and the left sees it as a positive? Is it really just a semantic quibble for the same undeniable demographic reality? What am I missing?

  44. @Someone else As places become wealthier, birth rates plummet. So we need more people here to keep the economy growing, but not long after arriving almost everyone's birth rates get a lot closer to the rest of society. The story line seems vastly overblown by any analysis. If we examine how the United States was formed, the idea that the current majority demographic is worried about being "replaced" by peaceful migration is something beyond disturbing.

  45. @Someone else I vote for the "semantic quibble" idea. Keep in mind that the majority minority population reflects the way the census counts "white" people and "hispanic" people. HIspanic people can be white (technically, any race), but when the census identifies a percentage of the population as hispanic, they also reduce the percentage of white people by the number of white hispanics. This makes sense in a racist kind of way today, when white hispanics are considered not truly white. When we get over the need to identify hispanics as a special group (as we did get over the need to identify germans, irish, etc as special groups), and when we get over the need to identify whites as a special group; then maybe we will get over the idea of "replacement".

  46. As Professor Krugman emphasises, extremely wealthy people are virtually unable to spend any more than they are already spending. Which is why deficit-funding a tax cut on wealthy individuals and the companies they own is not a particularly effective way of stimulating the economy, If a trillion-dollar deficit is in the cards, it is so much better to fund infrastructure. Not only does this increase actual spending (ie, by jobholders), but bridges and roads and airports pay dividends long into the future.

  47. @Bruce Arnold. You are expecting intelligence from Republicans who only believe in private enterprise and small government. The things you list are never bought with private money though.

  48. Are money and status and the need for adulation addictions for these billionaires? Is it much different from other people's addictions: to alcohol, opioids, screens, work, food, Facebook likes, etc.? In my opinion, we are a very disconnected society: disconnected from ourselves, from each other, from the community, from the earth. Disconnection (as well as trauma) often manifests in addiction. As the Buddhists say often: "May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness..."

  49. Isn’t your point that lower taxes don’t differentiate billionaires, only true if we are talking about American billionaires only? If say Bloomberg is comparing himself to Slim wouldn’t the different tax rates be relevant?

  50. @Rick Mandler exactly the point I was thinking. Lower taxes finally lets the beleaguered U.S. billionaires get some apparently needed parity with international billionaires.

  51. The distance from here to serfdom is measured in individual sovereignty and economic freedom. Self determination and freedom offer their greatest benefits in an efficient economy dominated by competitive private markets. A democratic government of the people is required to maintain such markets. Democracy requires the decentralization of economic and political power. And this is the crux of the matter. Democracy breaks down when the economic power of billionaires marries political power. When governments allow themselves to be bought, economic power accrues to monopolies and oligarchs. The markets, no longer competitive and efficient, can neither maintain nor be maintained by democracy. Without democracy our individual sovereignty becomes merely the right to sell ourselves back into serfdom just to survive. A dismal prospect, yes, but we must always be aware of the fragility of freedom and democracy. Billionaire or pauper, it matters little if you are not free. The freedom we have is rare and fleeting. If we don't all protect it, we will surely lose it.

  52. @Econ John I don't understand "economic freedom". Freedom to do what? And please explain in terms the relate to normal people, not the super-rich.

  53. @Charlesbalpha Economic freedom is the freedom to engage in production and commerce for personal gain, and to enter into contracts, as well as the right to own real property. Those are privileges that are denied to serfs under feudalism, and were denied to women in most western countries up till about the middle of the 20th century, but that's another story. Individual economic freedom is required for entrepreneurs to specialize in economic activities in which they hold a comparative advantage, and that is largely what leads to innovation, progress, and real sustainable long term economic growth. It's how, for instance, America became great more than a century before Trump came up with his nonsensical but effective slogan.

  54. You hit the nail on the head that what the super rich really seek is adulation. This became clear to me several years ago when a journalist was interviewing Jim Cramer (who talks daily with CEO's) and kept coming back to the fundamental question of what the super rich had against President Obama. After all, Obama stabilized the economy, made the Bush tax cuts permanent, bailed out legions of investors by propping up the banks and AIG, and never went after the perpetrators of the financial collapse with criminal prosecutions. The interviewer mentioned all these things and more; and Jim Cramer, uncharacteristically at a loss for words, just looked at the interviewer with a wry smile, which said it all. Although it's true that Obama had a few rich confidants, like Jamie Diamond; in general, he wasn't "one of them" and didn't give them the praise they feel they deserve.

  55. I disagree. The key difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is that the Republicans will enact policies significantly more favorable to the rich,

  56. I too wonder what it is that Stephen Ross sees in Donald Trump. Why help him, why support him? The best I can come up with is that it's about real estate. Investments in real estate were treated exceptionally well in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act and I imagine Ross is hoping for more of the same in a second term. I'd love to know who all the donors were, and who is hoping to buy Trump off.

  57. @Nick Perhaps, Mr. Ross is a patriot who believes that Trump is good for America.

  58. The capture of government by the wealthy, large corporates and capital generally is the main game here, as it has been since the 1970s (and before that, in the Gilded Age). A few hiccups such as racism and tough talk on trade will hardly deter these people from pursuing their main objective, unless Trump's lunacy gets so bad that it creates an effective backlash. And that is something pretty hard to accomplish, when liberals have been co-opted by the deregulation, "free" market, "free" trade, globalization, consumer comes first mantra. As with FDR and the Great Depression, it will require somebody who has to save the system from itself for things to change. Even then, the plutocrats will kick and scream all the way.

  59. Thank you Mr. Krugman. Yes, there will be a reckoning, and the longer reform is delayed, the harder it will be for everyone. The debauchery of the current President and his many wealthy acquaintances is deja vu of social conditions in pre-revolutionary France in the Court of Louis XVI. So be it.

  60. The reckoning will happen with Bernie (whom Paul detests with an unexplainable passion) being elected President in November 2020.

  61. @Blunt. Keep dreaming. Bernie’s moment is past though over all some of his ideas will live on for another day.

  62. @Boethius, in the famous words of Melania Antoinette, “i don’t really care, do u?”

  63. There is abundant academic research demonstrating that the rich are not nice people. People driving luxury cars are more likely to cut off other cars and pedestrians instead of waiting their turn at an intersection or crosswalk. The wealthiest 20% of Americans give significantly less to charity as a fraction of income (1.4%) than the poorest 20 % do (3.5%), according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Researchers have found that wealthier people are more likely to believe that selfishness is a virtue. They are more likely to agree with statements that say that being greedy is justified, even beneficial. The rich have a people problem; they don't like people. Greed is a disease, but there is one good way to treat it: with fair taxation. America's income tax, payroll tax and sales tax codes are giant Christmas buffets for the rich that allow them to systematically dodge taxes while feigning persecution. And the truly perverted part is that the 2017 Trump-GOP 0.1% Welfare Tax Cut Act not only gave the 0.1% untold billions in gravy, but the 0.1% then proceeded to 're-invest' part of that 0.1% welfare right back into the Trump-GOP corrupt campaign coffers, creating a sickening loop of 0.1% Republican corruption of the tax code and campaign finance corruption. In short, you can support the Grand Oligarch Party or you can support a decent American civilization, but you can't do both. It's well past time to evict the Greed Over People party from the American politiscape.

  64. @Socrates Nice, Socrates. You've laid out what is pretty much and either/or choice. And US socio-economic history from FDR up until Ronald Reagan supports you. So does the work of economist Thomas Piketty. If we're lucky, we'll start to cycle up again, as we did under FDR. If not? Well . . .

  65. @Socrates Indeed - for the past 40 plus years the wealthy (corporations and individuals) have used their wealth to take over and thoroughly corrupt our political system. Why? Greed of course. They have successfully reduced their share of the federal tax burden (thus increasing everyone else's). They feel little obligation to contribute their fair share to live in our civilized society, that they themselves have received the most benefit from.

  66. @Socrates The inverse correlation between niceness and wealth is likely a causal relationship. It is hard to be very wealthy if one is very nice: much of business is cutthroat and requires sharp elbows. There is often a zero-sum game in many business transactions.

  67. I remember Ross once saying at a public talk, that the reason he was able to succeed in magnificent fashion in projects others failed at for decades, like Time Warner/Columbus Circle and Hudson Yards, was that he was "not too greedy and always sought sharing benefits." It seems beyond tragic that this essential lesson seems entirely absent in his actions with regard to his own country. One really wonders, who are these people that pepper the Trump administration and its support: billionaires and mega millionaires who cheaply sell every shred of decency, morality and common cause with the people of their country (and the people of the world), and instead seek to selectively benefit or enrich select groups at the expense of the many. Claiming "if we weren't there, things would be worse," is the height of hypocrisy, deceit and self aggrandizement.

  68. I'm a bit unsettled by this piece....Mr.Krugman seems to suggest that because someone has amassed a billion dollars, they should be expected to be more 'enlightened'....if we start to look for moral suasion and principled leadership from billionaires, we will surely get what we deserve... I shall continue to hope for the next MLK, or Lincoln, or Rosa Parks......patriotism and civic virtue have never been measured in dollars and cents in this country....don't expect it to save us now.........

  69. @Dennis Holland No, he calls them the useful idiots, meaning they are not smart enough to understand what will happen down the road. It's not enlightenment for them, but some intelligence that says going down this road will be bad for them.

  70. The latest CBO data on inequality (through 2016) indicates that the typical middle class family would be getting about $20,000 more pre-tax or $4,400 after-tax per year, if the income was distributed like 1979, the pre-Reagan more egalitarian period. Voting on behalf of billionaires (a.k.a. voting Republican) when you only have a few bucks is no doubt a source of endless amusement for the billionaires. "Look at those households in the bottom 99%, who make less than $1.8 million pre-tax and $1.2 million after tax" quoth the billionaires. "Why do they keep voting for tax cuts for us rather than free college for their kids and universal healthcare?" My theory is voting Republican if you're in the bottom 99% is sort of like trying to claim membership in a club you can't afford to be in. What they're actually doing when they vote Republican is saying: "I'm one of the cool kids...look at me I voted against my own economic interests to Make America White Again."

  71. To clarify, those are average levels of income in the top 1% in my initial post. The pre-tax threshold was about $550k for a family of two, $670k for three, and $773k for four, in 2016. You can find these figures in the "Supplemental data" of the latest CBO report on inequality. https://www.cbo.gov/publication/55413

  72. @David Doney Demagogues run on "cutting taxes", and the middle class hears "cutting our taxes". They don't realize that the demagogues really mean "cutting taxes on our wealthy donors".

  73. @David Doney What the rubes do not understand is that only 1% of us can possibly be in the 1%, and the cut-off to get in is an income of $421,926, or net assets of nearly $8.4 million. Most of them are "math challenged" in many regards. So they fall for the nonsense that they are being told.

  74. F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me." They were in Fitzgerald's time. They were in the time of Louis XVI (although that ended rather badly for some of them). They were in the Antebellum South, and in the Gilded Age. They remain "different" in our time. In our time (as was often the case in the past), they are also very dangerous to the interests of the rest of us, as Paul Krugman makes abundantly clear. It becomes necessary for us to find ways (short of rolling the tumbrels, one hopes) to rein them in.

  75. @Tom Sullivan - I believe the end to your anecdote is Hemingway replying, "Yes, they have more money."

  76. @Tom Sullivan He said it to Hemingway, and Hemingway replied, "yes, they have got more money than us." And Hemingway was right. Have you noticed how there are two distinct classes of people who are obsessed with money? Financiers and progressives. Both worship money and attribute all sorts of near-magical powers to it. The silliest belief of all is that money and power are fungible. But even if it is silly, inflaming the envy of the gullible is a well-trodden road to political power.

  77. @Tom Sullivan - Your comment brings to mind one of my favorite quotes: “The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine.” -- George Bernard Shaw

  78. Dr. Krugman, your attempt to appeal to the rationality of the super-rich, based on history and reason, is doomed to fall on deaf ears. Our billionaires have fitted themselves with super-expensive hearing aids that filter out any message that would urge them to rake in less money and pay more taxes.

  79. @Pete There are the Warren Buffets and Michael Bloombergs and Bill Gateses of the billionaire class, although I realize they are a small percentage.

  80. @Pete I'd add that attempting to appeal to the "rationality" of a great plurality of my fellow citizens, plutocrats, wage earners, knowledge workers, farmers, panhandlers, cops, teachers, and the rest is a fools game. My proof: the guy profaning our executive mansion. If it's gotta be your way or the highway in the next election, you'd better get ready to put on your back pack and stick out your thumb.

  81. Always has been like that. Krugman adores the custom made suits of the wealthy. He has said it in so many lectures in passing. Freud would have had the correct interpretation. Krugman reminds me of Gell-Mann. Brilliant but always beating the scars of lower-middle class Jewish childhood.

  82. I still live in hope we will come to our senses. It happened before, so maybe it will again. At the turn of the 20th century the USA brought in strong Anti Trust laws and taxes to break economic abuses, and England - then the world's richest country- made similar moves to get the wealth back to producers rather than the rentiers. If our great grandparents could fix this, then so can we 100 years later.

  83. @David Rose I have not left my senses. Though it would perhaps be a relief.

  84. This reminds me of a poster featuring a yacht, beach house, luxury car, etc from some years back: "The one who dies with the most toys wins!"

  85. Prof. Krugman, I must take issue with one sentence in your column: "If you’re a billionaire, you don’t need the extra money." They may not NEED it, but they certainly WANT it. Yes, part of it is keeping score against your fellow billionaires, but part of it is the purchasing power to buy more STUFF--a bigger yacht, a bigger mansion, more mansions, clothes, art, furniture, jewelry, high-performance cars, private jets, whatever. It's baked into human nature. No matter how much we have, we always want MORE. Greed is a thirst that is never quenched. When I read about the lives of the super-rich (including Der Trumpenfuhrer), I am astonished by their lunatic spending. Yet, they never seem to be happy, or even content. There's always something MORE they want--donating to hospitals, colleges, and charitable foundations, not to mention the press coverage and celebrity that comes along with their very public generosity. But even THAT doesn't seem to help them feel better about themselves. Part of my astonishment comes from the sheer volume of 1 BILLION dollars. If a billionaire were to spend 1 million dollars a day, it would still take 2.73 YEARS to spend all that money. If you reduce that spending to a relatively more human scale, spending $10,000 a day would take you 273 YEARS. There is no way you could spend all that money in one life-time. So why would ANYONE need a billion dollars? It requires a staggering greed and emptiness of soul. Hence our current President.

  86. @Jack Connolly It's not just about the "stuff". Money is the way these people keep score. Most of them are psychopaths, so their attitudes towards morality and others do not count. The only thing that matters is their well-being and that is measured by money. The more money, the more successful they feel they are and the more it helps them justify their behavior. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that ends in either authoritarianism (if the system is not strong enough, eg Russia, pre-WWII Germany) or collapse and re-birth (eg 1930s US).

  87. @Jack Connolly They understand one word very well: More.

  88. Its what Warren wants, to make these greedy people common citizens, and is our biggest challenge. We need to convince American voters that supporting our own oligarchs does not serve them. There's that weird truth that poor people vote against high taxation for the rich, because they imagine themselves winning the lottery. What we've lost in the last few decades, is an ethos, where if someone did win the lotto, they'd be proud to contribute taxes. The Democratic candidate I vote for will be interested in accountability on every level, from balanced books, to fair chances and fair laws. They need to demonstrate independence from big money and big media at every step, to whatever extent it can be said they are different. It is going to take someone who can hold the hand of the populous, and guide them along, convince them of the obvious, of common sense.

  89. The previous golden age for billionaires in the 1890-1910'e ended with the 1919 anarchist murders and bombings against plutocrats like Rockefeller and Morgan and the politicians and Supreme Court justices that defined the prowealthy governments of the time. The labor movements rose out of the desperation of the common man and led to fifty years of pro-union and progressive policies beginning with FDR. We got a vast literature and press with books like the Jungle and Grapes of Wrath. The wealthy have forgotten that there are many more of us than them.

  90. @bcw I wish I shared your faith in numbers but they didn't have Fox News back then. The wealthy have hacked the working class and successfully convinced them that a guy like Trump is a populist.

  91. @bcw I've always wondered if the Republican Party has fully considered the ramifications of enabling hundreds of millions of guns to be sold to the pickup truck public. When those working-class folks wake up to the tax scam that they've made possible...

  92. @bcw FDR was no progressive by today's standards. He turned away a Jewish refugee ship after Hitler had started his purges. He thumbed his nose at Churchill's importunings to help Great Britain fight Mussolini and Hitler. After Pearl Harbor, he interned US citizens of Japanes heritage and stripped them of their possessions. He refused to integrate the US military only to have Truman do it shortly after his death. The only true progressive president in the last hundred years was LBJ. The civil rights act, the voting rights act, the fair housing act, the immigration act of 1965 (Trump's least favorite law), Medicare, Medicaid, Headstart, Foodstamps, NPR, PBS, etc. I know he failed in Vietnam and that affects his overall rating as a president, but it does not detract one iota from his remarkable progressive domestic achievements. Most of the laws he got passed more than 50 years ago could not be passed today.

  93. We have the best government money can buy. These fundraisers are just ongoing proof that, whether for Republican racists or Democrat 'socialists', the government will be bought by those with the wealth to make that investment, always, -always- with the intention of a good ROI for their money. Mr. Ross and those who attended his Trumpista soiree may not believe in Trump, but they do believe he will cut their taxes more, erase bothersome regulations hamstringing profits at their companies, eliminate pesky labor laws restricting how little they can compensate the "independent contractor" working to create their billions, and in general make things better for them so they can get richer and richer. The racism, bigotry, and cruel divisiveness are just bonus benefits from 'investing' in Trump. This will continue, and the rich will keep buying government advantage, and getting richer and richer, until something breaks or we get full public financing of campaigns, and strong spending limits, including on outside "political speech" and corporate political activity. Yes, including unions. Until we get serious about making our government "of the people, by the people, and for -all- the people" and put an end to this, the sale of government favors will continue. If something breaks, well, "liberals" own guns too, and it will be a mess.

  94. I share Paul Krugman's view that millionaires' and billionaires' support of Trump will ultimately undermine the quality of their own lives because it weakens the social fabric that connects all of us. Lack of gun regulation puts everyone at risk of being shot. Fewer environmental protections result in polluted air and water and contaminated food for everyone. Inadequate funding for public schools results in a poorly educated work force. Lack of social supports and insufficient and inadequate housing result in homelessness and crime. But the movement in America to cut taxes didn't start with Trump. It began 40 years ago with Ronald Reagan, now canonized in the American pantheon of great leaders, who transformed the word "liberal" into a derogatory epithet and advocated starving government programs until they withered away. I wonder if it is possible for Americans to change such ingrained and widely held ideas.

  95. @James, Toronto, CANADA The movement to cut taxes began before the 16th Amendment, and has been pushed hard since then, Andrew Mellon, the Sec Treas under Coolidge and Hoover was a proponent of low or no taxes. Ironic since the Treasury (the IRS) was charged with enforcing the tax law. Still is, but has been stripped of much of its budget and experienced ill paid people. Wait until they need to raise money in the near future. Guess who will pay.

  96. Of course those who get the biggest tax cuts are then able to contribute the most to politicians who promote their interests which seems headed toward oligarchy, government of, by and for the rich and serfdom, mere subsistence, for the poorest Americans.

  97. @ogn It is the Roaring Twenties all over again. That did not end well for the whole world. In fact it took a world war and the deaths of 10s of millions to turn around the Great Depression.

  98. I respectfully disagree. The Specter haunting all of American politics is the pre-1976 /80 tax code reform of Carter and Reagan. So how much, exactly do the super-wealthy have to lose if we revert back to a highly-graduated scale? I would suspect, moreover, that these people are wiling to take their chances with America becoming fascist. Contrary to Dr Krugman's assumptions, dictatorships normally support the accumulation of wealth--for slice of the action, of course.

  99. Smart money is not talking about a graduated income tax hike, they’re taking about a tax on total assets over $50 million. Whole different ball game.

  100. "People who’ve studied the extremely rich argue that money, for them, is largely not about being able to buy things but is instead a way of keeping score" If this is really true, then we should switch to a points system for CEOs, instead of paying them millions. Whoever gets the most points wins. I'm sure the CEOs won't object. After all, it's not about the money, right?

  101. @Madbear Money is the only real points system to them. Unless we progress to the ownership of human beings.

  102. Mr. Krugman is running (and writing) on fumes. A bit like an investment banker who presents sophisticated math models that rest on preposterous assumptions. If only his pieces had a companion piece from, for example, Richard Epstein, we readers might get better clarity and the results of more rigorous thinking. Mr. Krugman - please solicit this for the benefit of the reading public (and your own self-interest).

  103. @Michael What preposterous assumptions?

  104. Much has been written about those years immediately before the financial crisis when houses were being "flipped" left and right. When appraisals were being fraudulently inflated. Banks and mortgage brokers were making up income statements in order to push mortgage applications through. Of course, Wall Street firms most of all were the greatest of crooks at that period of time. It was a period of collective mass insanity of greed that overrode everything. That's the way I feel now during the Trump era. Except in the collective insanity that rules the Trump era add in racism.

  105. Billionaires are so insulated from the rest of the population that they simply do not think as Mr. Krugman and the rest of us think. They live in gated mansions, they fly private planes and sail in private yachts, they are driven by the chauffeurs, they only see other immensely rich people of their social circle. They cannot be concerned with the problems of the ordinary citizens, such as inequality, lack of infrastructure, inadequate health care, even endangered environment. They know that even in banana republics, which we are becoming, rich do well - in fact, they have not only economic but unlimited political power. Kleptocracy and oligarchy is their goal, not a threat. So why would they oppose Trump and McConnell who are making their dream a reality?

  106. @TK What was the difference between fascism and communism in the 20th century? The fascists coddled the rich, while the communists took their money. Otherwise there wasn't much difference in their systems.

  107. Professor K lacks either imagination or (I suspect) motivation: It would be inconvenient if his straw-man billionaire cared about economic freedom not because s/he needs more billions of dollars, but rather because billions of people are better off under it. A Bernie Marcus type - who believes it’s harmful to the common good when govt is openly hostile to free enterprise - wouldn’t be as easy to toss aside. Easier, then, if we just assume greed and - especially - racism. That way you know that you’re right, and virtuous.

  108. @RobtLaip "economic freedom because billions of people are better off under it." But's that not what many people believe . They think laissez-faire has resulted in money being transferred from the middle class to the 1%.

  109. @RobtLaip Define economic freedom. Freedom from taxes?

  110. @RobtLaip There used to be a rather subversive comic strip that I occasionally snipped from the paper because of its sharp observances. One strip had the little brother commenting on the ways religious charities help the community. His big sister replied, "If churches really cared about the poor, they'd pay taxes." I have to agree; most wealthy philanthropists are basically expressing their own self-interest.

  111. I am deeply disappointed that Steve Ross— with whom I’ve done business in years past, whom I like and whose real estate projects I greatly admire— chose to host a fundraiser for Donald Trump. Unfortunately, it stands to reason that Mr. Ross would host the fundraiser and that many successful developers would attend. The 2018 tax law slashed commercial real estate industry taxes and left the carried interest loophole untouched. Hosting or attending a Trump fundraiser is a pleasant and comparatively inexpensive way to acknowledge largesse received. It’s a simple pay to play, as unsavory as that may be to most of us. On the rise of white supremacy under Trump: this is extremely dangerous stuff and Krugman is correct to warn that Jews will be a target if its sympathizers are not stopped. 1932 Germany was a highly educated society which housed a large number of wealthy, secular Jews who considered themselves well-respected Germans. It would be foolish to assume that today’s American Jews could not suffer the same fate, along with people of color. Never forget. The white supremacist movement and its facilitators must be suppressed. That means defeating Trump in 2020— Jared, Ivanka and the 2018 Tax Act notwithstanding.

  112. @ANetliner How about a nice thank-you note as a way of acknowledging "largess received"?

  113. @ANetliner You, and "billionaires", make a mistake if you look only at billionaires. On the street are hundreds of millions of people slowly having their eyes forced open, gaining conviction ours is a system beyond control. They know how hard they work, how their families suffer, how perverse and dishonest are American sops like "business good/government bad", "the rule of law", "equal opportunity", "get an education". People know they've been lied to, that it continues. For many this is new knowledge. They cast about for someone to blame. Immigrants are easy. We already make targets of black people and women. Sissy-pants cowards of the far Right chose the softest targets. It suits their unwillingness, or lack of ability, to think. They won't take long to realize their mistake and turn on even Trump, the head lying, greedy, rich person, even today in the process of stripping the wealth and hope they have remaining. Once Trump falls the run of billionaires will find themselves next. You'd think they'd learn to share. Instead, they grab for more as Mitch clears a wider path for the lawless traitor in the White House. Our courts have fallen. Our administrative architecture is gone or going; laws, traditions, social norms crumble. There will be nothing to hold these people back once they focus on the greed at the top. All this would be a snap to avoid, but it requires the rich to grow a heart, and a coincidence. That's not happening. Not in America.

  114. Excellent psychological insights. The only missing point is that the real audience for your insights are working their best on willfully missing the point.

  115. Usually I think PK and I have had the same brilliant thought. In this case, he has very much gotten ahead of me: I hadn't quite gotten to the pogroms from "lock her up" and DJT's general authoritarian lawlessness. But I've often been a bit Slow. Thanks, er um, er, Paul...

  116. @RRPalmer I think of it every time they do those chants. What else is it going to lead to eventually?

  117. "Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime." Notice how Krugman, a writer who does not indulge in hyperbole, takes it as obvious on the basis of the evidence to date that Trump wants to be a dictator who would not hesitate to launch pogroms against minority groups for political gain. We are in a very dangerous place as a country.

  118. @willow When a President fantasizes about throwing enemies in jail ("lock her up") or exiling them from the country ("send her back") , it's obvious that he would like to be a dictator. What's frightening is that the Democrats haven't even called him on it. They are too busy arguing about whether his statements were "racist" or not.

  119. @willow I agree with you. Question is--how do we stop this authoritarian, white nationalist regime? Definitely voting them out if that is possible- talking, taking a stance, getting on social media etc. against this hateful development with determination has to happen amongst those who deeply care.

  120. Wow. Conspiracy theory is running amok. You don't think the tax increases being promoted by many in the Democrats is not in itself a legitimate reason to support Trump. Trump is the only alternative as I understand it. Personally I don't know any billionaires but I can't see they spend their time counting their cash or seeking glory and impressing their friends. Typically they're just highly competitive. You don't seem to have a problem with poor people supporting progressive policies like tax increases, public spending and laws to restrict the rich. Authoritarianism and Pogroms and white supremacy in the US. Really?

  121. Yes really. Or are we so unique as a country that history and human nature do not apply to the quite slippery slope we find ourselves tottering on the edge of.

  122. @Paul The ‘just highly competitive’ factor you suggest is precisely Dr. Krugman’s point. Their competitiveness is measured by their net worth.

  123. @Paul Who do you think could demand and get an audience with a prominent member of Congress, or even a member of Trump's Cabinet? You, or a very rich campaign donor? Not you. How do you think major economic policies are made, other than by Congressional Committees comprised of elected members? Do you really believe that without public pressure to fund SS, Medicare, voting rights enforcement, national parks, etc. the very rich would create those policies? FDR was called a "Socialist" when he proposed Social Security for the benefit of all. Truman was only able to Medicare on the table; years later LBJ passed the needed legislation. Self-made very rich might be competitive; however, there is a class of very rich who have inherited estates and monetary wealth. They hire people to protect their interests; they stay out of the newspapers. Trump is not in that class, nor was Epstein.

  124. Revolutions were started for less than the evidence than stated in this article.

  125. Dr. Krugman paints a dark picture of the trump era extending beyond the next election. The greedy should take heed.

  126. As Upton Sinclair so adeptly observed, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” So even goes Ross and his fellow million- and billionaires.

  127. Most very rich folks I know care more about their percentage returns than absolute money. And they give away about half of their money to what they think are worthwhile causes.

  128. @Fiona The rich don't 'give away' their money; they set up Foundations and Trusts to shelter income which they still control. I can guarantee that even Gates and Buffet do not 'give away' half their money. They invest; they own property; they have expert accountants and tax attorneys. The rich will never be middle class or poor. I can't think of any current rich person who could build Rockefeller Center, or fund the Mellon museums, or have enough money to rescue the Federal government as J.P. Morgan did once.

  129. @Fiona: Is the Republican Party's campaign committee one of those worthwhile causes?

  130. @Fiona Charity masks injustice.

  131. Among other questions about the ultra wealthy, I’ve always been perplexed about their ever-increasing willingness to destroy our planet in spite of having mountains of money to support countless generations of their families. But I agree with the professor, it’s just about competition and having the highest numbers on their computer screens.

  132. @Acajohn As a intellectual exercise, I've been interested in tracking the real estate purchases in places anticipated to be livable as the climate becomes truly extreme. My guess (I've no evidence) is that lots of these places are being bought up by people supporting the party that's been fighting climate change science.

  133. America has a new oligarchy, going back to an economic system the world imagined had been left behind in 1929 or at least 1933. The racism and anti-Semitism, all too violent and common in the 1920s and '30s, the anti-immigrant and anti-refugee populism, are also back. There is even a revanchist state in Europe, Putin's Russia, out to sabotage Western democracies, play up factions and differences, and extend its reach in the world (look at Syria and Venezuela), working through stooges (Farage, Le Pen, Salvini, Trump...). Everyone knows what came after the 1920s and '30s. Let us hope this time the fates are kinder to the world.

  134. Observers of human nature, including Adam Smith, understand the importance of 'keeping score' and of tribal status (Thorstein Veblen). Cultural anthropologists note that in Japan, for example, great stature is attached to high-performing corporate leaders and performers, and this recognition is regarded as more of an honor than simply accumulating wealth, whether honorably or as a member of Grifters on Parade. A few members of the one-percent club have recognized their potential exposure to a new wave of Progressive reforms, but that sort of recognition is painful and unlikely for narcissists who believe they did it all without any reliance on infrastructure or other public goods. Our best hope is for an orderly but radical restructuring, from overdue enforcement of antitrust constraints to distributing a measure of productivity gains to those outside the executive ranks. Absent such a long-overdue reformation, we will face both social convulsion and the continued rise of frustrated white supremacists. And there is no solution in political economy for the young white males who have not accumulated sufficient resources to attract females; the natural history of human tribes recognizes this as a potential source of serious conflict (Tuschman, Our Political Nature).

  135. Quoting all these philosophers and economists to these GOP politicians is meaningless. They do not believe in evidence based decision making. They are only driven by power, greed and now alternate facts!

  136. People seem to connect the dots nowadays a lot more than they used to. When I was growing up, if I went to something like a gym, I didn't think about what the gym did with its profits, as long as it was legal. Nowadays people are aware that going to a gym owned by a Trump donor means that "their money is supporting Donald Trump".

  137. @Charlesbalpha Two things that have changed: 1). Social media 2). A divided country

  138. A century ago, the largest and most valuable American companies were manufacturers. They made their money by making and selling things. Today, America’s most valuable companies are mostly in the business of information. They make their money by persuasion. An employee in a factory can see the work being done. It’s not hard for them to grasp that the owner of the factory is profiting from the employee’s labor. They can also see that a group of employees collectively withholding their labor can force the employer to give them a better deal, and that the law can be made to work on either party’s behalf. In contrast, an employee of a company like Google does not see directly how the company makes money. Nor do they gain the sense that a group of them could bargain collectively. The most critical programmers and their managers have been socialized as owners. Other employees are deliberately taken on as short-term contractors to prevent them from even thinking of organizing. This makes for a big difference between the Gilded Age rich man and the modern billionaire. There are no factories to be halted by strikers. Wealth trickles upwards through mechanisms that are more and more effectively concealed. The modern billionaire becomes more and more separated from those who actually create his or her wealth. And this makes them do foolish things, as Paul Krugman points out.

  139. @Global Charm Calling an employee who uses company equipment and must report on time an ”independent contractor” is a clear violation of labor law. Yet it’s done with impunity and the DOJ looks the other way. I have lost all hope.

  140. @BlueMountainMan The trick is the hours worked; keep the 'independent contractor' working fewer hours than a regular employee. Fewer hours also keeps an 'independent contractor' from claiming any benefits. There are some States where legislatures have examined the practices used to prevent a contractor from being defined as an employee.

  141. It is incredible to realize the numbers of people, mostly young, who are forced to accept work as independent contractors...no benefits...sick time, vacation, 401ks and definitely no HEALTH INSURANCE! The NYT is guilty of this, too.... hiring more freelancers and gutting their permanent staff.

  142. I am not sure our amoral oligarchs could be reached by any appeal to their self-interest, even in principle. They see themselves and their prospects much as did the rich and powerful who sided with Spanish Fascism. Those people largely escaped reckoning, and now their descendants happily finance hopes to Make Spain Great Again. Our oligarchs have made the same self-interested calculation as the cronies of Franco. It isn't obvious they are wrong. I desperately hope they are.

  143. @Fresno Bob It was William F Buckley Sr who was a major financial backer of Francisco Franco. It was Buckley children who burned a cross in front of of a Jewish resort in 1937. Buckley proudly called himself a Franco Fascist. Franco held power in Spain until 1975 thanks to the sponsorship of American "conservatives".

  144. It's true that it's absurd for a human being to think $1,000,001 is more important than having $ 1,000,000. However, usually these decisions are not made by human beings. They are made by computers programmed maximize earnings at all costs. So if it sees the opportunity to obtain an extra dollar, it will. This is what drives the unflagging drive to increase wealth.

  145. @Charlesbalpha People tell computers what to do, allow them to do it, ask for more. No one gets off this hook because they do automated trading. Its all about the people, their vanity and their heartless greed. "These decisions" are 100% human.

  146. I think this is the Achilles Heel of capitalism - GREED!!! Luck at Trump. Born rich and still can't manage to be a decent empathetic person. He openly resents his father for being rich, a reality that precludes Trump from calling himself a "self made man", but so lavished the lifestyle, privilege and access that his father's wealth provided. There are some wealthy folks such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett who wear their wealth well, then there's the vast majority of those in the top 1% who simply don't want to pay taxes while enjoying their wealth in a country paved by taxes paid by the bottom 99%. The raw underbelly of capitalism has been exposed and certainly isn't the answer, neither is Lenin's vision of socialism, but there simply must be something in the middle that will promote a healthy thriving economy with opportunity aplenty to far more than is the case now.

  147. Dr. Krugman, this Is a very insightful article. When Putin rose to power in the years of Yeltsin's declining health, there were the infamous Russian apartment bombings in September 1999. There were multiple attacks on Russian apartments and hundreds of deaths, which Putin used as a pretext for the second Chechen war. When Putin consolidated power, in 2003 he put the richest man in Russia, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in a cage and stripped him of all rights and wealth and jailed him in a show trial. After that, according to Hermitage financier Bill Browder, who testified before Congress, said other oligarchs asked Putin what it would take to keep them from suffering the same fate as Khodorkovsky. Putin's answer was 50% of profits. That has purportedly made Putin the wealthiest man in the world. If distributed to the true owners, the Russian people, they would receive about 100,000 rubles each. The Trump GOP hated Russia when they were Communists, with all wealth owned by the people. The Trump GOP loves the Russian kleptocracy, a land run by thieves. Their oligarchs are our plutocrats, so for now it works. But Trump is a racist without empathy, and does not understand loyalty that does not pertain exclusively to him. The plutocrats happy with their tax cut will be less enthused when Don or Jr. strips them bare in a cage for show trials and expropriates all of their wealth. The Founders of America gave us the tools to fight tyrants. We need to use them.

  148. There's actually good news in recent weeks. The Trump bubble is bursting. What exactly is the Trump bubble you ask? When Trump was elected he was seen by many rich people as a one of them. There was an erroneous belief in Trump's ability to create wealth that would translate into being able to work economic miracles as president. That belief largely explains the surge in long term Treasury yields following the 2016 election. But now it's becoming obvious that his trade war is doing real economic damage, not only in the US but the global economy. The delusion that Trump is an economic blessing is quickly losing its grip on the markets and even many of his wealthy supporters. Farmers too are becoming disillusioned. Yet, some rich people including Ross continue to claim that the Trump tax cuts have or will someday do wonders for the economy. That belief is tied to their egos. They have a need to believe that cutting their taxes will allow them to produce more wealth and lift up everyone else. Of course, we know that's completely untrue. The IMF has now come out with a study showing that the corporate tax cuts did not boost business investment after accounting for expected sales growth. But people like Ross are and will remain true believers in the magic of tax cuts no matter how many studies show they never work as promised. They really think that cutting taxes for the rich in good not just for themselves but for the economy as a whole.

  149. Exactly. Tax cuts are serial bloodlettings administered by vampires.

  150. @Doug Rife - didn't this used to be called "voodoo economics" (say around the 1980's?)? Somehow the label got changed to get us fooled yet again.

  151. Your observations on our changing society are an interesting commentary on the development of a modern caste system. We were making progress, but being what I am, this use of white supremacy to gain political advantage is not a good development in the American experiment. Your statement, "It’s not just that these progressives might make billionaires a bit poorer, but that they make them feel small." is a surprising observation rising out of the inability of our system to regulate the distribution of income and work. The facet of Trumpism that bothers me the most is his use of racism and fear of brown skinned foreigners to create a political division that is contrary to the realities of modern and projected humanity. This is not good for our society. Think about our armed military forces which have a large component of recent immigrants. Think how it must feel for them to see their Commander in Chief on T.V., read the media reports of his xenophobic tweets, see the film clips of the ICE raids, the crowded cages at the detention centers. and read about the new policy to deport immigrants who benefit from government assistance programs. We are failing fast. Our influence pie just keeps getting smaller as the slice of the pie for the extremely rich gets larger. 2020 is extremely important.

  152. @james jordan well considered point about our military

  153. Each and every Trump impulse will be inarguably legal as soon as Mr. McConnell completes stacking the courts.

  154. Great analysis. Just what is needed: explaining to Trump's supporters how he is going to diminish their lives (to say nothing of their children's lives).

  155. Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime. I think most donors would disagree. The wealthy are not anarchists. In fact, they might have seen the rich people in the cabinet: DeVos and Wilber Ross and others. It’s about patriotism. Unfortunately rich people have a different concept of patriotism. They believe in meritocracy and demonize government. Krugman is right, they are not history students.

  156. @Jensen Parr But it's not even meritocracy that they support. They simply support what is to their own advantage. They might THINK they have earned their place as a controlling force in society, but they forget all the advantages that have been given to them from the start (in many cases inherited wealth.) Even those who supposedly came up from 'nothing' had certain advantages (education, infrastructure, etc.) that OTHER people paid for. But once they get in the position to let other people work for them, most refuse to pay fair wages to the people who quite literally make THEM rich. It's easy to make money if you start out with it. What's hard is surviving on minimum wage jobs without decent health care, child care, education, etc.

  157. @Jensen Parr. No, the wealthy aren't anarchists. Dr. K suggests they lean more toward fascist authoritarianism, which is essentially the opposite of anarchism. And their version of meritocracy is: "if I have lots of money, I must have lots of merit."

  158. @Jensen Parr "Meritocracy" is a term I struggle with. For example I'm sure I want the public servants I vote for to be "skilled and talented," and their careers, and everything I am supposed to know about them will involve competition. On the other hand, there are a lot of Jed Clampetts in the world. Who's proceeding personal millions or billions reflect far less of any skill or talent except having a good investment broker. Not quibbling with you, I'm just commenting that "meritocracy" seems a dubious word these days.

  159. The selfishness of a billion hoping for more tax benefits is simply beyond my comprehension. I would expect nothing less for that type of heathen to support Trump.

  160. Wasn't there some law mentioned in this column recently, something to the effect that a crisis always takes longer to arrive than you expect, and happens faster than you expect when it does? That's where we are with Trump. That's where we are with the climate crisis. It's ironic that Trump is trashing the endangered species act at a time when American democracy and the human species both seem to be rushing headlong to extinction. Or maybe it's karma. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity."

  161. @Larry Roth “The bad have fairly earned a victory over The weak, the vacillating, inconsistent good.”

  162. When I lived in N Y. State, people chose their candidates, supported them & voted as they pleased. Now Democrats have appointed themselves as guardians of all voters. Castro has published his constituents because he doesn't agree with their choice.Krugman thinks that he has a right to admonish donors. I have news for you. Every citizen has a right to chose the people for whom, he will vote. It is nobody's business but his own. This isn't Russia or N. Korea where they direct voters. This is still a free country, where we choose our own leaders.

  163. @Elaine Coyle A free country, where we choose our leaders and, when campaign donations are secret, buy them.

  164. @Elaine Coyle Curious to understand your claim, 'Now Democrats have appointed themselves as guardians of all voters.' What does this mean? I'm a democrat, not your guardian. The party hasn't make such a claim. If you're white, you won't have any trouble voting, but if you're black, given that you live in Louisiana, some southern states have made it very difficult for blacks and browns to go to the polls. Good luck with that.

  165. @Elaine Coyle You obviously don't understand how wealth buys power and the government. And has been for most of the time in the US. It isn't really that free. Freedom is the ability to choose a job. But when all that is offered in min wage, then the selection is nil. And the rich make sure that the wages are kept as low as possible. That is not freedom. It's called wage slavery and has been practiced a number of times in US history.

  166. From my experience, many extremely wealthy people (some I count as friends) have simply lost faith in democracy. They see it as immoral -- a legal means for people to take their stuff. What's so strange about this is that market fundamentalists all, they know that what someone earns isn't a matter of some inherent cosmic value, but of relatively bargaining power. Thus, somehow, focused on the redistribution they find so abhorrent, they ignore the distribution itself before it reaches their pockets has been gamed. And so, like the industrialists in the 1930s, who thought they could control the demagogic clown who'd harnessed and gave meaning to people whose lives had been destabilized and ruined in the aftermath of WWI, today's billionaires think they control Trump. Take one look at that photograph of Trump with his thumb up, his wife holding up the surviving baby of his parents mowed down a few hours earlier. There's no controlling this one -- he's far too gone, living in a reality and unfortunately taking a whole lot of people with him into it. Be afraid. Very afraid.

  167. And yet the rest of us see capitalism as a legal means to do the same to our labor. How many engineers have their designs and ideas taken by the capitalist. How many people stop designing or creating because of they do so it is stolen by the capitalist they work for. The very nature of what you are talking about reveals how disconnected they are. There is a sense of ownership. If the rest of us can pay forty to fifty percent of our income so should they. They have no problem hiding behind the blood of our soldiers to protect their wealth through out the world. Start participating and seeing the rest of us as peers. All our lives depend on it. Your wealth is often gained by another persons sacrifice and tax upon their efforts. Many of us are gauged and pay far more to capitalists who rob us by rigging the system such as medical and housing our greatest expenses. When we wake up in the morning we see our apartment bill of thousands of dollars to the guy driving the bmw as a tax in a system that is rigged.

  168. Very good advice. The super wealthy lose site of everything, it seems, except that they have more each year than they had the year before. What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?

  169. I know you'll never acknowledge it but Bernie has always been right about the true nature of the billionaire class. His influence on the Democratic platform has given Elizabeth Warren the space to get her message out. The best thing to come out of the debates so far was seeing the two side by side standing up to the neoliberals. ' Shareholder value' is destroying the middle class and our democracy along with it. The question is whose side will the upper middle class, the wealthiest 18 to 20 percent take? Will they align with the billionaires or with democracy?

  170. The same may be said for a country...what does it profit a country when it gains the whole world but has lost its soul?

  171. @SLB I agree 100%.

  172. The US super rich believe their status is their due, and they're entitled to their dominance. Whatever threatens to reduce their accustomed status---say, an operating democracy, economic equality, the rights of we the people---calls forth paranoid, extremist reactions by much of the elites. Reinforced on GOP state media, FOX After all, didn't the 2010 Supreme Court, in a supreme lie, bless billionaire influence in politics? Citizens United said any limits to mega donor money in elections is anti 1st Amendment 'free speech'. This was a corporate oriented court and they meant business, so to speak. Now, so to speak, the moneyed elites are 'calling the shots' in our politics. And they shoot down any attempt to interfere with the huge power they wield. On guns, for instance, the NRA controlled policy, and graded the politicians we elect. See Richard Painter's past op ed after a tragic school shooting--- 'The NRA Protection Racquet.' By contrast, other democracies don't let gun makers dictate gun laws, or block research into patterns of gun violence. Of course, other democracies don't turn their elections over to corporate investors for financing. When will Paul Krugman use his sharp prose to trace this cause/effect in an explicit column. Why leave out this huge factor? Most Americans want strong gun laws for public safety, strong health care for all, AND want to get big money out of elections. The big 2020 issues. It's all connected. C'mon PK, go there.

  173. @Meredith Sheldon Adelson, and his criteria for backing presidential candidates, is the manifestation of Citizens United. With his money, he has a disproportionate amount of power and is the main reason Trump moved the AMERICAN Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

  174. What would happen if, for just one day, we didn't spend a moment on trump? I remember those days, as they recede in the mists of time, fondly.

  175. @shrinking food, we can’t! We need to fight to our dying breathe, especially if we want a future for our family and friends.

  176. @shrinking food unfortunately twitter is his tool, along with the daily chaos he creates, to ensure he is the lede at all times

  177. @rosemary If you feel that we can't go a single dayy without hearing about him, It' time to take a rest

  178. Bravo! Keep it up. This article has that cold crisp feel of reality about it.

  179. Karl Marx(remember him?) thought that eventually Capitalism would collapse because in order to develop it would eventually"undermine the original sources of wealth-the soil and the worker."He was probably wrong to think that Socialism,as he defined it,would end this death spiral but he was right about the "collapse" part.The super-rich worship money and only money.Religion,morality,values,concern for community....don't matter to them.How much longer can they pretend that their wealth is a reflection of hard work and diligence? Their embrace of authoritarians like Trump is a sign that they may fear that "the jig is up."

  180. @Iamcynic1 Marx was right of course. It is obvious that capitalism will collapse. The question is how long will it take? The same applies to the environment. It will collapse. There is no doubt about that. Again the question is how long have we got before the world descends into complete chaos. I am betting that there is a lot less time than we think.

  181. Krugman ends his essay by suggesting that Trump and the current government is destroying America “as we know it.” What is the America that we know? Is it the America that stole the land from the people it belonged to and stuck them in “reservations” if they were still alive? Is it the America of slave owning, part-time Constitution writing politicians? Is it the America who did not let “freed” slaves ride next to them in busses, use the same latrines as they did until the 60s? Is it the America of robber barons who bought indulgence papers by donating to museums, universities and hospitals that sometimes are named after them? Is it the America that interned Japanese-Americans as potential traitors in the Second World War? Is it the America who imposed quotas on bright Jewish kids and now does the same for bright Asian kids? Which America are you talking about? FDR was a President who took exception. Bernie or Liz would be two others. Vote Democrat. Vote Sanders or Warren in November 2020 and beyond. Otherwise Lenin’s other dictum will hold: the Capitalist will sell the rope to hang them with when the time for a revolution comes. Marx could have said it better. Have a nice Tuesday. 8:24am NYC

  182. Story yesterday on Marketwatch that the Walton family's wealth increases by $100 million per day. Meanwhile many of their workers have to apply for public assistance to stay alive. A charming time, ours.

  183. @Plennie Wingo The first (Walton family wealth increasing by $100 million per day) is made possible by/is due to the second (their workers having to apply for public assistance to stay alive). Only in America, especially the America that Trump and his minions want us to return to.

  184. @Plennie Wingo The Walton family wealth rises each day because WE would rather buy inferior junk products at a slightly lower price than better products at a slightly higher price. It is the race to the bottom where formally "good stores" now do not normally stock better products because they cannot compete with the likes of Walmart on price, and the public demands lower prices despite the fact that this oftentimes means inferior products. So WE facilitate this by our choices.

  185. @NDF It is simplistic to blame only the choices "WE" make as it overlooks the many predatory tactics the Walton family used to attain their market dominance. For example, they often came into towns and offered bare bones pricing long enough to drive the "good stores" you refer to out of business. Once those stores were gone, they would revert to normal pricing.

  186. How is this different than the same billionaire class polluting and destroying the planet. Don't they breathe the same air? Drink from the same water sources? The level of greed it takes to be a billionaire with a few exceptions blinds one to anything else. Especially when your riches are created through non productive moving of money (Wall Street) or on the backs of the working class (mostly everyone else).

  187. "Don't they breathe the same air? Drink from the same water sources?" No, they don't.

  188. Thank you so much Prof. Krugman for pointedly and eloquently saying something I have been thinking but never could express even in private conversations with close friends. Thoughtful American Jews should not support Trump despite his pro-Israeli policies because of the larger picture that must be taken into account. Just consider the political culture he is actively cultivating and that should guide all Americans of good will to respond accordingly. Thank you indeed.

  189. @Alfred Yul Calling Trump's policies "pro-Israeli" is misleading, as is thinking that Netanyahu is good "for Israel"or for Jewish interests. The dream of Israel will founder unless a way is found for Palestinians to live in dignity.

  190. @Alfred Yul No doubt, his pro-Israel policies are purely transactional and it’ s most likely that he supports such policies to court Jewish voters, but no other reason. Trump has no core beliefs on any policies, he is not a deep thinker who has thought about such things for years or decades. He could not care less about such things. And a pro-Israel policy can change with a tweet.

  191. @Alfred Yul Trump is a racist; that's why black joblessness is at its lowest ever and the US embassy to Israel is in Israel's capital as Congress voted and the last several presidents have vainly promised.

  192. Great article Prof Krugman. And at the end you hit the nail on the head. Unless we get someone like Warren or Sanders, don’t expect much improvement for the middle class economically. Any of the Democrats will be a vast improvement over Trump and halt or hopefully even reverse the slide to authoritarianism and divisiveness but history shows that the great wealth and income transfer from the middle class to the super rich continues under both Democrats and Republicans. A little slower under the Dems, but it nonetheless has continued for more than 45 years. And it will, so long as we allow big money to corrupt our democracy.

  193. @Jack Robinson. Perhaps the Dems have contributed to the income transfer to the wealthy but they are not responsible for Citizens United. That decision must not stand.

  194. I assume that many people like me, millions, appreciate thinkers like Krugman who keep aware and energized and active in pursuit of truth and sanity in this absurd cosmic mistake of Trump world. Most of us can only sit, comment, vote and feel quite helpless in the face of conscience-less power. I'll admit that for me, it still feels like a bad dream. I'm grateful that Paul and his press cohort are awake and at it.

  195. @Fred Hear, hear! Column after column, PK nails it. His insights, like in today’s post, rarely fail to startle. Extraordinary.

  196. I have waited for today's Paul Krugman for a long time. I am not optimistic however that we can turn things around. "Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It's an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian white nationalist regime." The old question of what came first the chicken or the egg is easily answered; the desire to impose a white nationalist autocratic regime was part of America from the very beginning. Trump simple summoned up the forces that had been cultivated from the moment the first Imperial flag was planted on foreign soil. Far from upending the rule of law that has been the rule of law from the very beginning and it is only now that we have questioned the law's legitimacy. It was not that long ago that our Canadian government outlawed the Potlatch where the wealthiest community member gave away all his possessions in an annual ceremony. The Potlatch held Aboriginal communities together throughout the generations and flew in the face of our traditions of wealth and power. Paul Krugman is a great economist but like many Americans the presidency of Donald Trump asks the many questions that should have been asked long ago. The ascendency of the plutocrats was in the design of the economy. It took Solon the ancient Greek poet philosopher to wrest control from the bankers to get Athens back on track and it is going to take philosophers to design an economy that serves we the people instead of we the people serving the economy.

  197. @Montreal Moe Is the Potlatch system still outlawed? I remember reading about it and couldn't help wonder how it's possible to stop people from giving things away.

  198. @Montreal Moe You might consider reading a bit more about America's political evolution. New England and the Plantation South were two distinct cultures sharing a common bond in their unwillingness to be taxed without representation. There were white slaves in early New England--Scottish POWs from the last Anglo-Scottish war--and there were free blacks among the militia at Bunker Hill. New Englanders settled the Old Northwest Territories, and ensured that slavery was forbidden there, contrary to the wishes of plantation southerners like Jefferson.

  199. @Sten Moeller It’s simple. Just take away the deduction for giving.

  200. "But let’s get real. If you’re a billionaire, you don’t need the extra money. At that level, purchasing power has nothing to do with the quality of life; having a 45,000-square-foot house instead of just 40,000..." I think that this understates the point. A billionaire can't buy a better iPhone or a better Tesla than I can. A billionaire can buy a better house, a better Picasso, and a better Super Bowl ticket than I can. However, a billionaire is buying those in competition with other billionaires. In that context only relative wealth matters, and tax rates affect everyone the same way. It's noteworthy that US tax rates don't affect foreigners the same way. As long as we allow people from countries with low tax rates to buy US property without additional taxes, US buyers will be at a disadvantage, and we should remedy that with a significant tax on foreign purchases.

  201. @David H. Trump’s supporters, who are so emotionally overwrought at the thought of immigrants overrruning the country, ought to be outraged at the thought of foreigners buying the country. But maybe not. Seeing Putin’s name emblazoned on a tower in Chicago next to Trump’s would probably draw from them, at most, a collective meh.

  202. @David H. And sans a 10% luxury tax which we used to have. (Thanks you again, Bill Clinton) one can pay 450 million for a painting at auction and not pay one cent in tax. Apparently the Leonardo? "Salvator mundi" has disappeared!! (Times article) much is legal. Buy an apt. at Hudson Yards in NYC gives a foreigner a vis/green card anda 20 year property tax abatement.

  203. Hopefully, the small(I hope) scale Armageddon coming to a ballot box near us in November of 2020, will be victorious for those who believe in the best of America. In the meantime, for those folks who are woke, stay the course and get out the vote!

  204. If the plutocrats want to really deserve adulation, they might keep focused on the fact that the noblesse oblige of royals and such aristocrats as the Roosevelts and Kennedys—and the likes of Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg—is the road to being LASTINGLY admired. Plutocrats: the National Debt is a credit charge against everyone's grandchildren. Shame on you for letting this continue to obscene levels, whereby our well-educated children are compelled to expect less prosperity than their parents. Citizen leadership FEELS good. It has LIFE EXTENDING effects on your health. Letting a fair taxation order prevail will allow moderate prosperity to be durable, allowing America to be truly exemplary again, in a world of cooperative alliances that provide the stability that our children—your heirs—deserve. Show the citizenship that makes you part of American leadership. Go for the real thing. We can be admirably exemplary. Adulation can be a guiltless pleasure that we love to share because we genuinely earned it.

  205. This one of the rare times that I disagree with PK. Trump has not only cut taxes for corporations and the wealthy, he has also adopted the de-regulatory, "starve the beast", and largely hands off big business agenda long favored by many elite Republican donors, and viewed as very much in their economic self-interest. Appeals to bigotry and polarization along racial and cultural lines, along with the erosion of democratic norms and safeguards, are the means to achieve Republican domination at both the federal and state level, a situation that allows cutting back on, for example, social welfare programs and things like environmental protection, workers' rights, and consumer protection. Support for Trump by the ultra-wealthy and those who prioritize private property rights at the expense of other values seems very much a rational and self-interested decision.

  206. @JNC "rational and self -interested decision" does not make it the best for society as a whole.That is, of course, if you believe there is a "society" to begin with. Deregulation ,business friendly, etc etc are catch phrases of the Republican right that has infected all discussion of the role of government vis a vis society.

  207. @JNC: That may be true, but they are the rational and self-interested decisions of toally egocentric predators thinking only in the short term. In the longer term, they will destroy society, the environment and the goose (the ordinary Americans) who lays the golden eggs for them. They are not intelligent decisions...

  208. Krugman addresses this point in his comment about Putinism. Sure it lets the oligarch operate with less pesky regulation. Until the machine decides it wants something from him and no longer needs to worry much about things like rule of law. The useful idiocy is the oligarch assuming he’ll be able to jump off the tiger’s back unscathed.

  209. spot on again, Mr. Krugman. but, of course, this doesn't go far enough. tax breaks is only one part - albeit the biggest part -- of American oligarchs' agenda. it's all about exploitation. the other part is deregulation to allow them to exploit the rest of society and the environment for their own financial gain. and the stacking of the court with right wing judges to skew the odds in their favor in perpetuity. nothing golden about the gilded age.

  210. The super rich have no nationality. No patriotism. No alignment with this country. The world is their nationality. They own it all. Citizens United was just an example of the power they yield.

  211. @Kevin An age gilded by fools gold.

  212. I wonder if they think by supporting him they will be part of the protected oligarchs much like Putin’s inner circle, but neglecting to notice what happens to those people if they fall out of favour.

  213. When will we stop defining people based solely on whether they support Trump? To create an entire narrative about Stephen Ross based on his fundraiser is not only unjustified, it reveals a mindset terribly weakened by confirmation bias. I loathe the fact that Trump is our president, but I refuse to define an entire person based solely on their political choice.

  214. @David R I would argue that supporting Trump demonstrates far more than a political choice, it demonstrates a moral one. His demonstrated character flaws are such that if one supports him, surely one must be sharing some of them.

  215. @David R Normally I would agree with you, but trump is not a normal president. As you know, he is a liar, fraud, a draft-dodger, a climate-change and general science denier, etc. He is a threat to our country. To support him is to be nearly as contemptible as he is.

  216. @David R: I think if you still support Trump, knowing about all his lies and blatant racism, misogyny and xenophobia, divisiveness (e.g., in the way he uses immigration as a wedge issue) and his embracing of dictators and tyrants, you can be pretty well defined solely on your political choice.

  217. Mr K. I have been meaning to apologize for being a critic of yours, one who always thought the opposite of whatever you said was the right answer, Then along came trump and the GOP embarrassing itself and demeaning itself by nominating him. I left the party and began to look more critically at what "conservatives" said and did ( often finding what they said they then did the opposite ). While I don't agree that truth has a liberal bent, truth is just truth, liberals and progressives are far more willing to accept truth than the conservatives who refuse to believe they could possibly be wrong. Neo-cons certainly do not practice the teachings of a certain Jewish Rabbi many claim to follow and believe in a Savior. Your thoughtful commentary today was, I believe, spot on.

  218. @jeff And that is the issue the conservative can't be trusted but the Democrats are too far to the left. Moderates are made to seem bad. The people in the middle to not know where to turn.

  219. @jeff Jeff, thank you for your honesty, and your willingness and openness to change your mind, based upon what is true. I am hoping that there are many others like you; even if they do not say so publicly, hopefully they will vote accordingly. The last Presidential election was spun into a choice of "the lesser of 2 evils," and many Trump voters believed the demonization of Hillary, or used their vote to "send a message." I'm sure the 2020 election will also be framed as such. I hope that this time around, people make a rational choice, especially since it is now very clear that Trump is the greater evil. I believe our country's survival depends on it.

  220. @jeff Another commenter here mentioned David McCollough’s book on John Adams. Your comment, coupled with hers, brought to mind a passage from that fine book, recounting the letter John Quincy Adams wrote to his father after being elected to the Senate. The younger Adams noted that the art of passing legislation appeared to be to presenting it as doing one thing when it in fact it was intended to do the very opposite. That concept has now become foundational to the misgovernment we are witnessing these days.

  221. Being really rich is indeed not about buying things. Nor is it that much about score keeping. It is about power. And one can never have enough power...

  222. It is astonishing to see the numbers of business owners who support Trump. When you hear them, they say that they like what Trump is doing for the economy - but they never explain what that is. I assume that the drive needed to push to success as an owner (as opposed to what is required for an employee) is fueled by greed and the naked desire to win.

  223. @Terry McKenna Well, what they mean is their economy, not the economy.

  224. @Terry McKenna That surprises me too. A business owner down the street apparently supported and voted for Trump. In 2016 I knew that he was a Republican. After Trump was elected and Republicans had passed the 2017 tax cuts, he put a Trump sticker on the rear window of his pickup. It's still there and I'm confident that he would have removed it if even one or two customers had complained. His business is small (2 to 3 employees) and I'll bet that he actually receives little or no net tax savings. Every time I see his pickup, I just shake my head.

  225. @Terry McKenna I am surrounded by soybean farmers who think Trump is great for them. On what planet do they spend most of their time?

  226. I couldn’t figure out why I wanted to rewatch the decade-old mini series “John Adams” based on David McCullough’s book last night. In these perilous times of Trump and his spineless (Republican) minions, maybe I subconsciously longed to see the idealistic vision of what America could be, shaped by men who truly wanted her to be GREAT; not what Trump is turning her into.

  227. @Sherry Most of our best leaders grew up on working farms, not in sophisticated playpens. Think Washington, John Adams, Lincoln, Truman, Eisenhower and Carter.

  228. This may be the best column that I've ever read. Best, and most frightening.

  229. I work for a law firm that represents Wall Street banks and I can tell you who they don’t like, and that is Sanders and Warren. They hate that Warren created the CFPB and blew the whistle on Wells Fargo and all the other games being played by Wall Street banks. Therefore, I will vote for either of them, Warren preferred.

  230. With the triumph of the billionaires comes the certainty that they will starve last. As the water rises, their wealth can protect them for a time but " The Road" is our future.

  231. @carlyle 145 In the final analysis, the oligarchs will taste better than any other cooked vertebrate, because they will have eaten so well.

  232. Trump's rules of law are good for billionaires. Trump's escaping the revealing of his taxes provides hope that similar scrutiny of their financial entanglements will never visit them. Bringing Trump to justice might bring many to think that he is not so aberrant, that he is not an outlier in how his wealth was gained and accumulated. This deregulated president, escaping justice, provides comfort to the extremely comfortable.

  233. I don't think this is limited to just billionaires. At every level there are those who need success, adulation, and the booty to prove it beyond dispute to those whom they've one up-ed. And they are the backbone of support for the modern day republican party. Sure, at the top of the pyramid are the .01% but below them are the Wall Street financiers who make obscene amounts of money that is not taxed like working people, corporate C-suite who are paid not in money but in ways to hide their money. But it's also the doctors and other professionals who vote republican because their areas of profession have been spared the gutting that has pushed most working people into forever instability, fear, and shorter life spans. What is the hardest to take is those at the bottom who vote republican aspiring to become one of those higher up the food chain who also voted for trump. Top to bottom, it's opportunists who don't care who they step on to get a leg up. It's not just billionaires.

  234. @no one special Identity with the made-it club, against all that might take from "mine" and give to the undeserving. The alliance of makers. The Romney wing that gives air to the authoritarians.

  235. @no one special My wife is a physician. A pediatrician, in fact--among the lowest paid physicians because, presumably, of how little we as a society value our children. She wouldn't vote for a Republican no matter what promises they made about lowering our taxes. We're happy to pay our taxes, and happy to pay more in taxes than people who make less. (And happy to pay less in taxes than people who make more.) Our ethics aren't for sale. It'd be great if you'd reconsider generalizations about everyone's motives. Mr. Krugman may be quite right about the majority of the obscenely rich (though not all of them) as a class, but there may be more to the rest of us than you seem to think.

  236. @DWS No, I work longer and harder than you do. I get paid the same $16/ hr I did on my first job as a paralegal at a law firm 30 years ago. Today that money won't pay for the cost of living and allow me to save to replace the old car I now have, let alone for retirement. My understanding of the professional class is informed by my own family, divided between the haves who are doctors and finance people who all vote republican. Those who are like me all vote democratic. At events, who do you think gets to determine what we get to talk about, reality for us? Hint, it isn't we working people. They don't want to hear about it and think we're losers who deserve it. I know there are professional class individuals who do care but as a class, that class votes against the interests of working people. It simply is not in my interest to consider the professional class as anything but someone not in my interests.

  237. The irony here is that despite the prospect of higher taxes and enforcement of regulations protecting consumers, workers and the environment with a Democrat in the Oval Office, the rich are more likely to get richer than if Trump is reinstalled. The trickle-up theory of economics is well supported by recent evidence. Did Mr. Ross benefit more from the -26.5% decline in the DJIA under W than he did from the +148.3% increase during the Obama years?

  238. The market is cyclical and going into a depression is not controllable nor is coming out. There is no way to time it. Had Gore won in 2000 and 2004 he would have been the unlucky one with a recession on his watch.

  239. @Jim Or, Gore maybe would have believed and acted upon the warnings of our intelligence community that Bin Laden was thinking about flying planes into buildings. Perhaps the entire world would be much different without the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Just maybe, instead of tax cuts we would have spent our taxes on infrastructure and paid attention to climate change. Cycles are still influenced by the trajectory of policy.

  240. Who are we to question the nobility. There was a time when the nobility thought they needed the common people for protection, and labor. Now they don't value the common people at all, (except for entertainment, think Epstein). Thier world is smaller and separate from ours and we can only guess what motivates their thinking.... "the field mouse doesn't know what the hawk is thinking".

  241. @the downward spiral.m - I think the mouse knows that the hawk thinks 'dinner'. And in a country where over 60% of the economy depends on consumer spending that is what most of us commoners are, dinner for the plutocrats. Vote more, spend less, live a balanced life !

  242. What wealth does bring is the right of self-indulgence to give aid and support to a movement under Trump that’s destroying an America true to the preamble of our constitution "... to form a more perfect Union...".

  243. @Martin Byster Wealth also makes you think you are smarter than you really are, more talented, harder working, more popular, more beautiful, and just a so much better human being than the rest of humanity. In other words, wealth makes you an idiot in all other areas (except the one that you are actually good at and made you rich)

  244. At some point the chickens will come home to roost, be it from economic mismanagement, lack of oversight(ie. Boeing’s Supermax) or some as yet unseen calamity exacerbated by this administration’s incompetence that completely cancels out that coveted tax break, and thereby completely justifying Krugman’s pejorative characterization. The problem is our Wild West version of capitalism lacks long term vision and many of its titans deign to look past their noses, and not much further than the next earnings report.

  245. @Mr. B I've been waiting for those chickens since Reagan was elected. It just gets worse and worse.

  246. Hereditary oligarchy is by nature the enemy of democracy. That's a trait inherent in nature, and anyone familiar with the history of western civilization should know it. We have a choice: either we tax the hereditary oligarchy back into the upper middle class, or we will have a class war to determine which pattern of wealth distribution prevails: predation or labor. Btw: the last time the hereditary oligarchy won a class war was the Peasants' War in Germany, in 1525. Ask the Bourbons and the Romanovs how hereditary oligarchy worked out for them.

  247. Who cares about the motivations of billionaires? Hillary lost because she represented more of the continued deference to the GOP and frightened of bold ideas from the left. Not because the ideas were bad but because of the calculated risk of losing. Meanwhile millions of Americans lost the American dream. Obama saved the banks (he was backed by walk street so it wasn’t a surprise to many) and passed a republican health care plan. No bold progressive ideas. The planet is dying and democracy is a word we don’t understand. If you’re in power you never pay a price. Corruption is at an all time high. So when Warren says we need bold progressive ideas I say YES! It’s a risk we need to take to save the planet and our democracy. Progressives -what do you believe in? We only lose when we settle. Fight for a change!

  248. @Liberal Concerned About Opportunity, Hillary didn’t lose. Trump won because of the unfair advantage he eked out of 75,000 votes from three states that gave him the undemocratic electoral college. She won the popular vote by the second largest margin in American history, second only to Obama in 2008.

  249. @LibMieral Concerned About Opportunity Might I suggest that you lose when you lose...an election. The 'yes' saying should be to the Democratic candidate who is a UNIFIER of both party and country.

  250. @Liberal Concerned About Opportunity: I'm for Warren. But I'm also with the people who voted for Clinton. And I believe that Obama did more than just save the banks in 2009-2010 and provide a "republican health plan" for Americans. Like you, I agree that our planet is in deep trouble and Donald Trump's world is deeply corrupt. I agree that bold progressive ideas offer the best solutions, but only for some of our problems and less progressive pragmatic ideas may offer the best solutions for other problems. Most of all, I believe that if we shrink the tent by talking about what Clinton, Obama, and other Democrats did wrong or will do wrong, we'll alienate many voters who would otherwise vote against Trump. And if a Clinton-like candidate emerges, I'll still vote for him/her because I'd rather see the country limp forward than dive off the cliff Trump is leading us to. So all good citizens and patriotic Americans should fight for the defeat of Donald Trump and Republicans in the Senate, and whether the Democratic nominee is Warren, Biden, or someone else, we should fight. Fight for a restoration of sanity. Fight to keep our country from destroying itself.

  251. Ah, finally the real dangers of Trumpism come out. Although I have to note that these real dangers are the same in case of Trump, Clinton, Biden or who else is there on the ticket with 100s of millions of campaign funding? Or does anybody seriously believe that Biden is not a representative of the oligarchy?

  252. @Michael...Finally??? The Dangers of Trumpism come out??? Surely you jest !! The Dangers of Trumpism from the 2016 Primaries until today have only gotten worse and have been very well reported !! It's the Dangers presented by Trump supporters,the enabling GOP, Barr, and Fox Nation that are really concerning. As is the griping about the Democratic candidates who really have been looking out for our DemocracyThey may not be perfect but they are a far better alternative to the current dysfunction we see in our Gov't !!

  253. Biden.

  254. During the Vietnam War a friend of mine was married to the daughter of a vice president at Dow Chemicals. So he was privy to conversations of the corporate elite at informal gatherings. He said more than any Black Panther, more than any Yippie, more than Wlliam Kunstler, more than anyone, the one person they despised by far the most was Ralph Nader. I would never have guessed that. He seemed the least radical of the bunch. But the reason of course was obvious. He hit them where it mattered most.

  255. In some ways it goes beyond wealth and power. These moneyed people tend to believe that their wealth is a specialness that gives them the proverbial key to the universe. These people invented smart - that is how they accumulated their fortunes. These people also tend to belong to a special club where inconvenient laws and rule do not apply to them and their fellow travelers. The Trumps, Epsteins, Ross', don't pay taxes, don't pay for their sins, they just keep rolling and buying their way out of the next inconvenience.

  256. Is it really all about stuff, buying and selling, laying waste our lives? I fear it is. For Billionaires it’s yet another mansion, for the rest of us it’s a phone, a cool pair of sneakers, or mounting credit card debt for stuff already cast aside. Accumulation eats away our lives. A good laugh, talking long into the night with friends, a walk in the park, the family around the table...following your bliss anywhere but into the marketplace satisfies our longing for worth.

  257. Hint for apocalypse planning: Inform your private pilot of your plan to include him and his family when the revolution comes. That should guarantee you a seat on the last flight to safety. This warning demonstrates the superficial nature of elite thinking. They may suspect that a chaotic outcome is possible, but they cannot free themselves of the value concept of MONEY. When the end comes, the real medium of exchange will be: water, medicine, food, shelter, ammunition.

  258. Billionaires love the shift to authoritarianism because they believe that they will always be on the top. They enjoy watching the rest of us squirm and causing us to do so. It’s the power over the “little people”. I’ve seen this desire and pleasure in a micro situation and it was shocking at first and then it became obvious that money may be how they get the power but once they have it a ring side seat at the destruction of the middle class way of life and all the pain and dislocation that causes is what they really want . It is embodied in the following saying. “I love to hire but I really love to fire.”

  259. Well said Paul! Of course, Most of them won’t realize it until it’s too late. And too late means we all suffer, not just the wealthy. ALL of us.

  260. The journalist Walter Lippman in London during desperate times watched people line up without prompting, It struck him that in a democracy, an essential truth is that "the queue forms to the right": no one is better because he is white, male, Christian, or blessed by ethnicity, inheritance, marriage, or good fortune. As a political reporter, Lippman knew that while capital or "class" carries privilege, alas, but democracy, as M.L.King would later put it, arcs toward justice. The U.S. arc seems weak of late. Canada, born more than a century after the United States, chose "peace, order, and good government" for goals, instead of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Reality there is full of backward steps and broken lines, as it is in every democracy, but the goal remains. "Nhe pursuit of happiness" was NOT the original leg of the tripod - it was" the right to private property". How petty, how undemocratic, how unhealthy. Trump's tripod. No, our law does not permit the powerful to abuse women, children, the poor, the brown, the black, the natives, the ill, the weak, and the refugees. The poor, the old, the women, the immigrants -- people are not "private property". No sane person accepts that corporations are people, or happiness comes from subpoena refusals, executive protection from prosecution, calls to hit, jail, or send opponents "back where they came from" . Power lies in "good government" . The line must form on the right for all of us.

  261. Well said dr. Bob.

  262. Capitalism, our system of living, is predicated on the belief that one should dedicated her life to the pursuit of money. Just look at the career paths most in demand: MBA's, you know, those are the people who contribute nothing to our society, those are the careers of people who care overwhelmingly about being wealthy. These are people who sacrifice much in order to obtain obscene wealth. Even if you fly by fast jet, it takes time and preparation to get to the pleasure capitals of the world; one can't use that time doing something productive, i.e. something that would improve our society. A farmer grows beets, a very tangible result for her efforts; an MBA (or the like) figures out how to game the system to increase his wealth. Satisfaction, who achieves it ? Thrusting one's hands into the soil to extract food, or figuring out a way to use the tax code to your benefit ?

  263. A very narrow view.

  264. Your argument is predicated on the idea that all business activity contributes nothing to society, which is absurd on its face.

  265. Life would be quite nice if we could do away with the wealthy. They spend all their lives acquiring more wealth while the masses struggle to make ends meet. The wealthy don't contribute to society. These are the takers, the users and abusers. How much do any of us really need to make our lives "rich"? How do these temporal things fill our hearts with goodness? Does all this wealth make us more gentle and more giving people?

  266. So the inventor that creates dozens of life improving medical devices? Maybe makes your or a loved ones life better. The inventor and entrepreneur who creates a product the world wants and creates millions of jobs! Maybe your job or a family members job?

  267. @wihiker, a bit extreme? Just fair taxation would be fine.

  268. @Brad No inventor or entrepreneur ever accomplishes anything without the resources provided by the rest of us. That is the truth behind the ugly lie of the "self-made person." These people are important; they take the resources that society provides to them and they use them in ways that are innovative and advantageous to everyone (in an ideal situation). But they still owe an enormous debt to the rest of us. That then leads to the question: how much should they pay back? How much do we owe them? And what is "rich enough"? My belief is that there should not be any such thing as "billionaires."

  269. Money and power have always been the coin of the realm in capitalist America. And to be poor is to be without influence. Unless the deeply disadvantaged and even the modestly disadvantaged get together and unite behind political candidates who will help them more than corporations and oligarchs, little will change.

  270. Funny thing, my vote is just as weighted as the millionaire's vote.

  271. @Quilly Gal Your vote, maybe. Although the votes of many no longer count, thanks to gerrymandering. But your (and my) influence is nil compared to those that Prof. Krugman is writing about.

  272. @Quilly Gal "Funny thing, my vote is just as weighted as the millionaire's vote." Really? Funny thing is that twice now I've voted for the candidate who won the popular vote but didn't become president, and it was the one the millionaire bet against both times. Funny also is how it's big-donor money, the multi-millionaires and billionaires, who largely decide the selection we have to choose from in the first place, as well as directly writing legislation to their favor via lobbyists and white shoe lawyers. Less funny is the Citizens "corporations are people" United, and how you and I both count for far less than corporations who get to vote with their piles of dollars. In what universe do you imagine you hold as much sway as the 1%? Because it sure isn't this one.

  273. @Quilly Gal...Don’t be so sure about that. In the current political environment that could depend on ethnic, economic and geographic considerations here and in Russia.

  274. "But most Trump-supporting billionaires would probably be horrified at the prospect." Given the potential fire power of billionaires, IMO that is a big. generous and dangerously disarming proposition. It is also kind of hard to swallow given the library grade quietude coming out of all but a few of that crowd. The Koch's come immediately to mind along with Sheldon Anderson and John Schattner as three absolute Trump authoritarian cheerleaders. Dare I say there are more plenty more just like them. I have no axiomatic qualms with billionaires but I am reluctant to endow them with graces they choose not to exhibit and support. Color me cautious.

  275. Mr. Krugman, the billionaires and millionaires are buying influence when they fundraise or donate to Trump. Under Trump, money can buy anything including saying I am the friend of the most powerful man in America.

  276. Professor Krugman, I think this is analogous to the Masters of the Universe reference in Bonfire of the Vanities. Only it’s not bond traders on Wall Street, it’s billionaires worshipping Trump. And what better way to show that you’re a true Master than throwing a fundraiser for the President. I think the other thing at stake here is fear. Even though these guys are billionaires, they’re actually scared of Trump wrath if they get on the wrong side of him.

  277. Let us get rid of the Endangered Species Act, eliminate regulations on arsenic and other poisons, mow down labor with ICE! There are many costs that the rich can remove to the public and Trump is their guy to do just that. The rich are just like the poor except they have more money and have gone to the best schools. Some are kind and considerate, others are just plain ravenous with the means to get whatever they want. The proportions of each are likely the same across the income distribution. It is only that when a rich person trashes the world, they shout louder and have bigger and more elaborate chainsaws.

  278. Democrats profess to want a growing, job-creating economy, they just hate the way it happens. The evidence is that self-interest and desire for money, and all it buys and the elevated social status it signalizes to others, are the most efficient economic motivators; that all people are not created equal, that some will get ahead of others, and an ever-expanding government is a sovereign wet blanket for smothering innovation and capital formation. I hope Democrats will someday understand this, but I doubt it.

  279. @Ronald B. Duke "evidence" implies some underlying body of fact and information; it differs from baseless assertion. For example, who could provide any evidence at all, as opposed to baseless implication, that over the last 10 or 25 or 50 or 100 years that government expansion has "smothered" innovation and capital formation?

  280. @Ronald B. Duke ignores the fact that competitive free markets are inherently unstable. Once those who get ahead have the resources they tend to use their power and influence to stifle competition and innovation. Thus the rise of monopolies that that further concentrated power. 'Free market' economies need rules to maintain a freer market and make sure the system works in the best interest of all the people, not just the super wealthy few,

  281. @Ronald B. Duke That's because you're making a largely evidence free claim. Look at when the country has historically done well for a longer period and impacting more people, where the rich have gotten richer (Democratic policies). With Republicans it is greed. In CS terms, it is sacrificing long term gain for short term benefit. Whereas if you build a better self-sustaining system to work in the longer term, then it benefits everyone, including the rich. So your statement is only correct for the short term, but not for the long term. People initially got rich with Bush 2 with his tax cuts but then when the collapse occurred, they lost it all and then some. In the Obama years, they made it back. Now they are looking to lose it again especially if we get four more years of Trump. It doesn't really matter to them as it doesn't matter to me since they'll still get rich, just less so and some will win more than others will lose but it's just human greed at play when the Republicans are in power. Look at any other organism that strives for natural resources in its environment. If it acts like you wish humans to act, then it dies out when the resources are gone. But most if not almost all organisms find a natural balance with the environment in conjunction with other organisms around them. These organisms have been around with us for billions of years. We should learn from how they behave, not from how the short term greedy organisms behave.

  282. I'm 55 so I guess that makes me an old crank. But sometimes I wonder if we've become less principled. There have always been miscreants, but sometimes I wonder if there are more of them now. Nearly half the country regularly puts their politics ahead of their principles. As Krugman points out, the super rich are too busy trying to one-up each other rather than trying to be responsible to anybody or anything except their egos. (By the way "Richistan" is a good book) When the tax brackets were more egalitarian and there were a lot fewer super rich, I think they felt more of a duty to country or society. Now they live in their bubbles. Or maybe I'm just an old crank.

  283. @David Biesecker: You’re right. The wealthiest demonstrated far more interest in maintaining general prosperity and reinvesting profits when income inequality was at its lowest and marginal tax rates at their highest.

  284. @David Biesecker I am close to your age. My father and his generation grew up in the great Depression of the 1930´s which was engendered by Wall Street, then spent 5 years of their late teen/early adult lives in the military, many witnessing atrocities/PTSD/disease and loss and most becoming desperately aware of the benefits of a just society. Then after all that being forced into a McCarthy-ite woman and gay unfriendly 1950´s, well we got the civil rights movements. Sadly historical memory has been lost from a mere few generations ago and we need it seems to repeat the ridiculousness, 21st C version.

  285. @David Biesecker ...I don't think you're wrong old son. In The Road to Character, Brooks describes interview based studies showing that since the 1940s a greater and growing % of Americans firmly believe they're more important than others. So "love your neighbour as yourself" goes out the door PDQ.

  286. One of the most interesting things about the modern British Royal Family is how often its members have served in the military. Another notable thing is how much they do for charity. They needn't do anything but it seems that they take their responsibilities as the Royal Family to heart. They do, for the most part, try to set an example to the nation they lead. (Yes, it's a constitutional monarchy and most of the power resides in Parliament but the family doesn't have to set any examples at all if it doesn't want to.) Here in America a great many of our richest families do not serve the country in any way, shape or form except one: they form PACS with innocuous names like Americans For Prosperity or Citizens for a Sound Economy and use them to push an agenda that hurts 99% of us. We had a vice president, Dick Cheney, who was quite happy to have a war in Iraq even though he avoided the draft during the Vietnam War. In other words, he liked the sound of war but had no idea about what was involved in running a war or anything else associated with a war. In America we confuse riches with intelligence, being virtuous, and wisdom. In truth all being very rich does is to insulate a person from the worst hardships of life. There is no reason to offer the rich generous tax breaks. They do not spend the money; they invest it and it's not invested in us. If they are true patriots they will pay their taxes. 8/12/2019 10:29pm

  287. @hen3ry The relevant phrase is "noblesse oblige" -- the idea that being powerful carries obligations. It's a British concept, but apparently not an American one.

  288. @hen3ry Interesting comment about the British royalty. There are also wealthy British citizens who are not royal. I wonder whether they are more like the American wealthy or the British royalty.

  289. @hen3ry "the [royal] family doesn't have to set any examples at all if it doesn't want to." I think your view of the Royal Family is overly romanticized. They are heavily subsidized by the British taxpayers, & their status depends on the good will of the British people. Queen Elizabeth is very savvy about this, which is why she changed her mind & yielded to public pressure to engage in public mourning for Princess Diana.

  290. "More to the point, Trumpism is about much more than tax cuts: It’s an attempt to end the rule of law and impose an authoritarian, white nationalist regime. And even billionaires should be terrified about what their lives will be like if that attempt succeeds." Thanks, Dr. Krugman, for telling it like it is. Students of history will recognize Trumpism for what it is, and a second term will indeed end the rule of law--With William Barr, it's already been splintered almost beyond recognition. Yes, today's Trump-loving plutocrats have reason to worry. I'm glad you brought up the topic of anti-semitism which doesn't square with Trump's tight alliance with Israel. That said, Trump is nothing if not expedient--he'll do whatever he needs to gain absolute power, and once he has it, God help anyone who isn't white, christian, and a worshiper at his feet.

  291. This "so called democracy" here in the U.S. has long ago been superseded by a monetized democracy. Those making large monetary contributions to elected officials rule the day. Look at the NRA, Big Pharma, Big Ag, etc. Stephen Ross is doing what many of the moneyed class in the U.S.A does today in order to be heard. Time for a big change, bring back the voice of the voting public.

  292. @GLO Unfortunately, it's not who votes, but who counts the votes, that matters. A billionaire ($1,000,000,000) could buy your vote, and your neighbor(s), without a sneeze.

  293. @GLO, the United States is not a democracy, so-called or otherwise. The Constitution does not grant individual citizens the right to vote. The small states have vastly more voting power than the large states. The idea of one man, one vote is nonexistent.

  294. Call it what it is. This country is an oligarchy.

  295. Greed and ego. And delusion. Perhaps it would be instructive for a Trump supporting billionaire to consider what life is like under authoritarian regimes for even the very wealthy. Maybe talk to a few of the Russian oligarchs who got on the wrong side of Trump's good friend Putin. At least the ones who were not killed or imprisoned. Or talk to some of the royal family in Saudi Arabia about what happened when Trump family friend MBS wanted to consolidate power. Progressives may make billionaires "feel small" or at least not beloved, but as far as I know Elizabeth Warren doesn't have a plan for billionaire defenestration. Just a modest wealth tax. Trump turns on everyone. Everyone. It's his nature. Just like authoritarians everywhere. Enlightened self-interest and proper risk management suggests that a robust democracy and rule of law is the best way for a billionaire to sleep well at night. Just like everyone else.

  296. @LT I wish I were the frog giving that scorpion a ride across the river. Knowingly.

  297. @LT Ross. like Trump is in real NY estate and probably would feel more comfortable with a Russian oligarch than he would with most people. Recall, it was Ross's pal Michael Bloomberg who said we needed more Russian oligarchs in NYC, and this from a guy who wanted to be the Democratic nominee!

  298. @Michael SLC Remember the frog dies when the scorpion stings him. So both die in the end.