The NewsHour Hits a MUST-SEE Homerun With This Interview

I’m sure whoever’s idea it was has been sacked. Along with all the llama trainers.

Watch Does U.S. Economic Inequality Have a Good Side? on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

UPDATE: A warm welcome to Instapundit visitors and many thanks to Glenn!

59 Responses to “The NewsHour Hits a MUST-SEE Homerun With This Interview”

  1. Outspoken Red says:


  2. Richard Epstein kicks ass. If you want to hear more from him, he’s on Ricochet’s podcast.

  3. NealD says:

    I am jumping up and down and clapping.

  4. Greg Newson says:

    Basically he says if they raise taxes,the system will waste it and flush it down the toilet.It’s like giving twenty dollars to a drunk,he’ll just buy more booze.
    Anyone who grew up in the working-class America of the
    60s or 70s knows that.

  5. JeffS says:

    Anyone who understands the principle of osmosis, or thermodynamics — and I mean understands them, and not just mouths the words, like a lot of so called “engineers” that I know — will agree with Mr. Epstein.

    I loved his quoting Lincoln: “You don’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor.” That’s gotta burn when they pee.

  6. ThomasD says:

    This is NPR’s tacit acknowledgement that both the house and Senate will be fully under Republican control come 2012.

    They plan on using this exact segment when the inevitable ‘defund NPR’ bills start coming up for vote.

  7. Asher Abrams says:

    This is a “contrarian” view in the halls of PBS. Elsewhere it’s known as the free market.

    Ten Years After put it best: “Tax the rich, feed the poor – till there are no rich no more.”

  8. Beruang says:

    Llama trainers? Can someone explain, please?

  9. Ebola says:

    They know this allows them to damage Christian reputation. Which their religion is sorta all good for. Infiltrate and indoctrinate. First step in removing the power of a culture or religion is getting it to (in)voluntarily remove it’s symbols.

  10. Ebola says:

    WTF? That just posted to a different page than I posted it on.

  11. […] the rage right now). Interestingly enough, this interview was conducted and broadcast by PBS (as tree hugging sister notes “I’m sure whoever’s idea it was has been sacked. Along with all the llama […]

  12. rich says:

    Notice how the commentator says ‘that was “libertarian” economist’? See if he attaches a label to any other economist. Epstein must be labeled and dismissed Notice also how incited the interview is?
    Household income…what about the increase is single parent households? Does that change the interpretation of this data?

  13. Jonathan Zython says:

    Great stuff.

    Seems like an educated and erudite person who can speak truth to power like Milton Friedman could.

  14. Ken Winkes says:

    Mr. Epstein must not have noticed the massive financial illiquidity that struck in 2008 despite (maybe because of?) the financial market free-for-all we’d experienced for the previous decade. Or that people losing hope because they have fallen so far behind aren’t incentivized. Or that his claim that he can harmlessly bequeath untaxed wealth to his children while those less prudent (like a Pell grand recipient) will be disincentivized is hopelessly arrogant….or that…a millionaire taxed at a slightly higher rate is still a millionaire. What balderdash!

  15. […] in Richard Epstein and John Leo in the space of thirty minutes makes me feel like I’m living in ancient Athens […]

  16. Gregory Koster says:

    Dear Jeffs: No, it won’t burn when they pee because Lincoln never said anything like what Epstein said. This was a bad blot on an otherwise splendid performance. But dam Epstein for sending that Lincoln lie out to gain fresh roots.

  17. flataffect says:

    So freedom and property rights are what create jobs, and so-called progressives are actually damaging society.

    Quelle surprise! Do they even teach The Wealth of Nations anymore?

    Ultimately, the best way to help the poor is through giving them a role in creating wealth. No wonder “Thou shalt not covet” is in the 10 Commandments.

  18. orthodoc says:

    A couple points. First, the top 1% now are not the same people they were 30 years ago, or even 5 years ago. Second, one of the reasons that high income households have more income is that they’re larger, and have more than one person working. Third, they work more. If people in the bottom fifth worked as many hours as those in the top fifth, they’d be making about 50% more.

  19. Bill says:

    “You don’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor” is about as asinine a statement as I ever heard. No thinking man would utter such nonsense. The rich would not get poor by having their taxes slightly, and I say slightly, raised and this would never make the poor rich. Epstein fell in love with a catchy, if empty slogan.

  20. Bill says:

    I have nothing to correct or change.

  21. Micha Elyi says:

    Almost certainly this interview was Paul Solman’s idea. He’s been giving the nose-tweak to slave market economics and soap boxes on PBS to free market economists like Richard Epstein and Milton Friedman for decades.

  22. Barza says:

    I love the crossed arms and suspicious looks, and the body language only gets better, bringing to mind Borat and Ron Burgundy. The interviewer is in way over his head!

  23. Sardondi says:

    Somewhere Garrison Keillor, Nina Totenberg, Bill Moyers and Gwen Ifill are weeping hot, bitter tears of resentment and passive-aggressive rage worthy of Jimmy Carter.

    By now they have seen this interview and have witnessed the betrayal of their beloved PBS as the rock-solid crypto-leftist advocacy arm which has enabled and supported them for decades. They know that 8 unvarnished minutes of Richard Epstein on the News Hour portends the death of PBS as the liberal-left’s secret Garden of Eden; where those collectivist ideologues who wanted to earn handsome livings without having to moderate, or even defend, their leftward biases in a clubby, warm atmosphere without too many scary black men or those hillbilly Christians, might spend their entire careers untroubled by intellectual or political competition.

    It is a sad thing indeed to behold these avatars of the left as they come to realize that if messages like Epstein’s can get out over PBS, it means that the comfy, warm ideological hothouse that was PBS is no more; and that they are being turned out into a cold marketplace of ideas where not everyone thinks Obama is the Neo who was foretold in the films of ancient legend; where they will be called on to explain and even defend their positions; where their every assertion is not presumed to be pristine truth; where not their salaries aren’t guaranteed; and where they will daily be in…in…competition!

    O, woe indeed!

  24. AD says:

    A lot of PBS viewers went into shock watching this clip. This does not conform with what they are told in the pages of the NYT & WaPo, which explains a lot.

  25. Ralph says:

    Mr. Epstein reminds me of Krauthammer. Kick ass, man. Got to have my kids watch this. How do you download / save this?

  26. Dianne says:

    HURRAY! Best clear explanation ever.
    Loved his TAKINGS book years ago too.

  27. rhhardin says:

    Check out Epstein’s podcasts at

  28. Mr. Bingley says:

    Beruang, it’s a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

  29. DWPittelli says:

    I agree with Epstein on everything of substance that he says here. However, it was not Lincoln who said, “you can’t make the poor rich by making the rich poor.” It was the Reverend William John Henry Boetcker (1873–1962) who wrote “you cannot help the poor by destroying the rich” and 9 other related aphorisms in 1916. A printing error in 1942 led to the confusion between some Lincoln quotes and these Boetcker quotes. See

  30. I saw Richard Epstein speak two weeks ago at a law conference at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is even more eloquent in person.

  31. teapartydoc says:

    The interviewer scheduled a meeting with a machine gun and got mowed down.

  32. smitty says:

    All redistributionist talk is predicated upon coveting, and therefore violates the 10th Commandment.
    Nobody with any shred of Judeo-Christian faith should play the game of the Godless Left.

  33. chernevik says:

    from his facial expressions, you’d think the interviewer was listening to a justification of puppy killings

  34. Eric Jablow says:


    About the llama references: he’s referring to the opening credits of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which cannot be properly described without watching them.

  35. moovova says:

    Mr. Epstein is brilliant!

    I’m sure, after the PBS interview, he was taken out behind the studio and shot.

  36. Sam L. says:

    I could be wrong, but my memory is that the moose and its trainers were sacked, and the llamas replaced them.

  37. tree hugging sister says:

    Hence, the next to go…

    Hope and change in action.

  38. Mr. Bingley says:

    I never carved my initials in my sister.

    Though I was tempted.

  39. tree hugging sister says:

    Mynd you, Seester bites Kan be pretti nasti…

  40. tree hugging sister says:

    moovova, no doubt. Especially if they had any of those expandable hefty bags around.

    Have you ever noticed that PBS cannot ABIDE messes, particularly ones of their own making?

    I say we put out an Epstein APB stat!

  41. […] update: See PBS’ interview with Richard Epstein, here, where he explains how, in a capitalist system, “inequality” is actually a good thing. […]

  42. […] There are many reasons that the liberal meme about the unfairness of income inequality is misleading. Still, there is income inequality, and one of the largest causes of income inequality is the difference in rewards to those trained in technologies and those not. See this graphic of the difference in pay among those in hi-tech jobs and those in service jobs. Those with technical skills, also, go on to build successful businesses of their own and get wealthier. As the CBO report on income inequality points out, an increased proportion of the wealthier are those applying skills rather than clipping coupons or withdrawals from trust funds. This News Hour interview nails it. […]

  43. You Go Richard! says:

    Professor Epstein has only improved with age. One cannot say the same about Professors Obama, Kagan or Sunstein. That said, the University of Chicago Law School absolutely rocked in the 1990s.

  44. […] cannot recommend this highly enough. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  45. Chester White says:

    Professor Epstein KICKS this stupid friggin’ wanker’s ass.

    God, this is great to watch.

  46. Ranjeet Tate says:

    Epstein is what passes for a Right wing intellectual these days: tell, tell, tell and never show. (Thomas Flathead Friedman would be the equivalent on the left?) Neither he nor anyone else has any data to back up their opinions. If you RW blowhard commentators above actually listened to what he said (instead of wanking yourself to Epstein as you do in writing above) you would realise how he constantly obfuscates issues, comes up with non-sequitors and answers questions by just repeating himself or stating some new opinion.

  47. major dad says:

    Well there Tate, since you are telling how about showing us something? Freidman an intellectual? Who thinks that? All he is is a shill for Bangalore India and all things Chinese.

  48. cmblake6 says:

    That wassuperb, and is about to be borrowed for mine with proper accreditation.

  49. […] over at “The Smallest Minority” I found this post. It came there from “The Coalition of the Swilling“, which is a very good site as well! It was Richard Epstein discussing redistribution of […]

  50. tree hugging sister says:

    Well, aren’t YOU a gentleman and a scholar, cmblake6! Thanks so much. That’s lovely. {8^P

  51. […] first link comes from a PBS show where they interviewed NYU professor Richard Epstein.  This video is 9 […]

  52. What? says:

    Is Richard Epstein advocating a return the 17th c with Absolutist primces governing serfs? Does he know anything about the French Revolution? As an academic, I find it hard to believe that he holds a teaching position. Why was he featured of PBS?

  53. 7kidchaos says:

    The well-publicized income gap in America is a lie because the government does not include welfar handouts and transfer payments in income computation. Hence, a poor person making $30,000 and also receiving $50,000 per year worth of free foodstamps, free healthcard, free or subsidized rent, and other cash benefits is actually earning well over $100,000 on a tax-adjusted basis. This is why the average poor person in America owns a car, has air conditioning, an smartphone and a wide-screen TV. The govt. is lying about the true income of poor folks. America is now a loafer’s paradise.

  54. Anthony Harmon says:

    I love this little satirical piece written by CS Lewis in 1959 for the Saturday Evening Post. It talks a great deal about equality and inequality, democracy.. even state education. The interesting parts start around the twentieth paragraph.

  55. Omen says:

    This is a law professor?
    Such mastery of economics & people.
    The man would destroy any demorat in a fair debate.

  56. ROBERT K says:

    That PBS chose to interview Richard Epstein and give him time to respond to a range of questions is precisely the reason PBS should be supported.
    Sadly many of the comments suggest that the listener is unable to do their own analysis Mr. Epstein’s position.

  57. Econ John says:

    I am now an Epstein fan!

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