Saying the same thing, just differently

In these days of partisan spin, you hardly ever find two persons of opposite political perspectives saying essentially the same thing at essentially the same time in essentially the same words.

When this does happen, you have most likely struck objective truth gold.

And this did happen with liberal Paul Krugman’s column in the Jan. 26 New York Times and conservative Patrick Buchanan’s nationally syndicated column in the Jan. 28 Minot Daily News.

Krugman’s title, “Paranoia of the Plutocrats,” is quite different from Buchanan’s title, “What is China trading with the US?” Yet both columns focus in on wealth and income inequality and a main cause for this.

In answer to the question of who is mainly responsible for this inequality, with the top one percent super wealthy and with the middle class disappearing, both say the “masters of the universe,” today’s corporate elites. And both describe clearly and colorfully who these people are.

Krugman: “We’re not talking captains of industry here, men who make stuff. We are, instead, talking about wheeler-dealers, men who push money around and get rich by skimming some off the top as it sloshes by.”

Buchanan: “Where their fathers walked sooty factory floors in smokestack towns in World War II, these masters of the universe fly Gulfstream Vs to Davos and Dubai to dine with titled Europeans, Saudi princes and Chinese billionaires.”

Ouch. The old one-two, a left-right combination delivered to the midsection of these self-called masters. And it’s about time the left and right got together on this.

Buchanan focuses mostly on our moving manufacturing jobs overseas and our having seven decades of trade surpluses until 1970, with only trade deficits since then.

Krugman focuses mostly on the risky Wall Street practices that do not create jobs here at home and that nearly crashed our economy and the world’s economy in 2007.

North Dakota would do well to heed what these two columnists say, as most of the money the state collects in oil related taxes is invested in risky Wall Street schemes. Not only is this money being bled by various marketing fees, it could be largely gone in another crash.

And, of course, the Street invests heavily in overseas businesses that take jobs away from Americans, thus widening the income gap at home.

The conclusion to be drawn from these two spokesmen’s observations may be too obvious to be re-stated. But I need an ending, so here goes: our state government would do much better for us by investing less on Wall Street and more on Main Street.

(James Lein is a community columnist for The Minot Daily News)