Home > Culture, Economics, Television > Luck, Hard Work, Success

Luck, Hard Work, Success


I don’t watch the Fox Business Network, but thanks to a tip from Ezra Klein on his blog, I found myself watching the six-and-a-half-minute clip from last Thursday in which Fox’s Stuart Varney interviews Cornell economist Robert Frank. (Among Frank’s books is a basic economics text written jointly with Ben Bernanke.) I started the clip out of curiosity, not anticipating watching it all. Soon I was transfixed. When you have a few minutes, do yourself a favor and watch. (Click here.) It’s extraordinary.

Who knew one would have to respond to a host who announces that he is insulted to be told that luck is a part of success? Varney turns that general statement into an attack on himself and insists that he succeeded because of his own hard work, talent, and risk taking. He further insists that success will come to anyone who does this. Along the way, he segues into a discussion of high marginal tax rates, asks Frank how much of his money should be taken away (seeming to suggest in passing a total lack of understanding of the notion of a marginal tax rate), and suggests that Frank return to his socialist New York Times and socialist Cornell. I have no idea whether Varney is serious or simply aiming to provoke and entertain. But entertain he certainly does. And Frank gets to observe in passing that Varney is proof that luck is required, since Varney clearly lacks anything else that could have produced such success.

Categories: Culture, Economics, Television
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