NYTimes’ Manjoo Warns CEOs: Fear Recession, ‘It Could Mean Revolution’

August 22nd, 2019 2:01 PM

The next recession could bring an economic “revolution,” according to left-wing New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo. He argued that when it arrives it would be “time to go full Elizabeth Warren” because of inequality.

Insisting that “a recession looms,” Manjoo fueled envy against CEOs and the wealthy — the very kind of envy that could spur such a “revolution.” Although he attached Democratic candidate Warren’s name to that kind of “radical” change, spouting off about revolution calls to mind other names like Marx and Lenin.

On Aug. 21, Manjoo wrote that CEOs are anxious that public support for the capitalist economic system is eroding.

“They’re worried that when the next recession breaks, revolution might, too. This could be the hour that the ship comes in: The coming recession might finally prompt the masses to sharpen their pitchforks and demand a reckoning,” he continued.

Will Manjoo be handing out the pitchforks? After all, it was only a few months ago he wrote supportively about financially “kneecapping” billionaires in his “abolish billionaires” column.

Rather than praising the gains from the “record period of uninterrupted economic expansion,” Manjoo denounced it as a “gilded expansion,” and promoted left-wing talking points about its “creaking wage growth and profoundly unequal outcomes.”

“The vast majority of Americans will not look back on the last decade as years of fat and plenty,” Manjoo claimed.

Behaving as if he were the judge of how much any company should succeed, Manjoo declared it was “an expansion driven by outsized gains to a handful of ‘superstar’ firms in ‘superstar’ cities.” He complained about “housing crunches” and “infrastructure nightmares” and the left-favorite devil: “corporate profits.”

“The rest of us got smartphones, money-losing conveniences — Uber, WeWork, Netflix and meal delivery apps — and mountains of student debt,” he whined.

How odd to complain about voluntary “conveniences” that many people argue make their lives better or more productive. Utilizing any of those conveniences, as well as choosing which college to attend and how much debt to incur, is a matter of personal choice, not a capitalism-imposed burden.

It’s ridiculous to act like that’s all ordinary people got out of the economic expansion which has brought wage gains and historically low unemployment — making it easier for people with less education or work experience to find work than in many years. “Most Americans” also got tax breaks in recent years, which even the Times begrudgingly admitted in April.

We also have “record standards of living” right now according to Yardeni Research. President Ed Yardeni criticized the flawed data that leads to such conclusions. In May, he wrote, “The bottom line: American households are enjoying record standards of living. Income stagnation is a myth.”

Yardeni acknowledged inequality exists, but argued, “Rather than bemoaning that development, we should celebrate that so many households are prospering, even if a few are doing so more than the rest of us.”

Yes, it took time to undo the economic damage done by the Great Recession, but the idea that only the very top benefited during the expansion is nonsense.

Professor Bruce Meyer of the Chicago Harris School of Public Policy backed that up in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute.

“If you look at the consumption of the median household, it’s gone up a lot over the last 30 years,” Meyer said. “Part of the explanation for the difference between what I am saying and some of the conventional statistics that you might see from the census bureau is that we often use a way of adjusting for price changes that overstates the extent of inflation. So it makes it look like we are not doing well in the middle of the distribution even when we are.”

Yet, Manjoo and progressives like him continue to fuel the politics of envy and demand “radical” change.

“And so, when recession comes, we’ll be right to ask: Was that it? Is this the best it gets? And if so, isn’t it time to go full Elizabeth Warren — to make some fundamental, radical changes to how the American economy works, so that we might prevent decades more of growth that disproportionally [SIC] benefits the titans among us?” Manjoo asked.

Before such a revolution occurs it would be wise to ponder the consequences captured in the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build.”