Saturday, December 03, 2011

Also, no sleeping under bridges (Anatole France & Paul Krugman)

There's a wickedly penetrating line by Anatole France that nicely captures the difference between purely formal equality and actual substantive equality:
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. (Le lys rouge, 1894)
Paul Krugman is reminded of that saying by the latest Republican venture in unintentional self-parody:
They just can’t help themselves:
In addition, Senate Republican leaders would go after “millionaires and billionaires,” not by raising their taxes but by making them ineligible for unemployment compensation and food stamps and increasing their Medicare premiums.
I mean, there are lots of millionaires on food stamps, right?
—Jeff Weintraub