Walter E. Williams

Wackonomics can help us understand what some people call the income distribution. The logical extension of wackonomic thought is that the unequal or unfair distribution of income is the handiwork of a dollar dealer who distributes dollars. The dollar dealer might deal one person a million dollars a year while dealing most others a mere pittance like $10, $20 or $30 thousand a year. Thus, the reason why some people are wealthy while others are poor is because the dollar dealer is a racist, sexist, a multi-nationalist, or just plain mean. Economic justice requires a re-dealing of the dollars, income redistribution or spreading the wealth, where the government takes the ill-gotten gains of the few and returns them to their rightful owners. Wackonomics might have a greed-based explanation for income inequality. There is a pile of money called income and greedy people got there first and took their unfair share. Similarly, economic justice requires a redistribution of income.

Wackonomics isn't just practiced by the uninitiated. This year's Nobel Laureate, Princeton University Professor Paul Krugman, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, gave one rendition of wackonomics in his column "After the Horror," New York Times (9/14/01). Krugman wrote, "Ghastly as it may seem to say this, the terror attack -- like the original day of infamy, which brought an end to the Great Depression -- could do some economic good." He went on to point out how rebuilding the destruction in New York and Washington, D. C., would stimulate the economy through business investment and job creation. For practitioners of non-wackonomics, this reasoning doesn't even pass the smell test. If Professor Krugman's vision is correct, and extending his logic, the terrorists would have made an even larger contribution to our economic well-being had they been able to fly a plane into the White House and destroyed buildings in other cities.

Wackonomics isn't all bad. There's an upside to it. It spares people the bother of having to understand the complexities of the world.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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