The market was closed yesterday, but I couldn’t hold back with the idiotic thing about 10 men going to the $100 dinner any longer. For those who missed it, Rick Hertzberg does it much better in this column from last week’s New Yorker. Rick’s essay does not deal with the dinner parable directly. But it lays bare what appears to be a related piece of fuzzy logic – a huge and purposeful deception by none other than our commander-in-chief (strong words, but decide for yourself):

‘These tax reductions will bring real and immediate benefits to middle-income Americans,’ Bush said in Chicago. ‘Ninety-two million Americans will keep an average of $1,083 more of their own money.’ The first of these claims, as the Financial Times editorialized the day after the speech, is ‘obviously bogus.’ The second is true, but only in the sense that it is also true that if Bill Gates happened to drop by a homeless shelter where a couple of nuns were serving soup to sixty down-and-outers dressed in rags, the average person in the room would have a net worth of a billion dollars.

Read the Hertzberg piece if you have a couple of minutes. Does this sort of deception not bother you? Could it not have been purposeful? Is it in any way unimportant?

More on all this in a few days, especially the excellent comments many of you have sent (enough! stop! please!). For now, take a look at this affecting little Forbes profile of Bill Gates, Sr., defending the estate tax.

Between the two links – the New Yorker essay and the Forbes story – it seems to me a strong argument has been made against tilting the game further in favor of the best off.

Wednesday: Who Owns Mickey Mouse?

Thursday: Have You Forfeited Amex Points? (You can get them back.)

Friday: More on the Idiotic Thing about the 10 Men and the $100 Dinner


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