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Op-Ed: Robert Reich's Attack on Billionaires -- and Capitalism

Greg Orman

November 18, 2019

Robert Reich, writing for the left-wing website AlterNet, made the argument last week that no one in America has become a billionaire through any legitimate activity. This is taking attacks on the wealthy into new territory. It’s being done, no doubt, in service of advancing two of progressives’ most cherished policy initiatives – a wealth tax and Medicare for All.

If progressives can destroy the idea that honest capitalism has anything to do with someone becoming wealthy – that significant wealth creation is exclusively the product of graft, fraud, and manipulation – then confiscating 6% of that wealth each year to pay for a complete overhaul of our health care system can be more easily justified. Argue the point effectively enough and “confiscate it all” will seamlessly become their rallying cry.

Reich has been a stalwart of the liberal left but has not always been so intellectually dishonest in his arguments. His book “Aftershock” anticipated the rise of Donald Trump as the natural result of a system that has left far too many of our citizens behind. He’s a well-regarded professor at a top-tier university and a former Cabinet secretary. However, his cherry-picked and misleading criticism of billionaires not only undermines his credibility but is dangerous to the very people – working Americans – he professes to care about.

To be clear, I believe the incentives in our health care system are aligned all wrong. It’s not a properly functioning marketplace. There is no price discovery, consumers are often uninformed and apprehensive, demand is inelastic, and the industry is being manipulated by for-profit health care, pharmaceutical, and... Continue Reading.

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