Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie represents an average paywall subscriber. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

It’s quiet in the PostScript bunker, and has been for a week or so. Disturbingly so. Quiet means the action is somewhere else, or the action is hiding from you.

Or there’s a paywall. PostScript can’t prove it, but she suspects the lower comment counts across the board for the last few weekdays has to do with the Post making like a company and charging for its content.

Which makes an interesting corollary to E.J. Dionne Jr.’s column about America’s income inequality and how it’s hurting the overall economy. Dionne is usually good for 2,000 comments or more by the time PostScript peeks in, or about twice what we had today.

How does that reflect on the comments themselves? For example, consider paulleroibeaulieu, arguing against raising taxes on the rich:

Instead of trying to steal money from those who have earned it, go earn your own money. Get a job, freeloaders.

Which becomes interesting now that, nominally at least, the freeloading commenter has been squeezed out. According to the plan, we’re all paying dues (or using up a limited number of free stories, or borrowing someone’s password, or using an incognito browser, or reading at school or whatever). Presumably the proles are all gone now, and the commenters are all makers, job creators, tycoons and robber barons, the sort of people who pay for journalism. Philanthropists. The incredibly attractive.

Hello! [Hello . . . hello . . . hello]

Echo! [Echo . . . echo . . . echo]

So minus the freeloaders, who have we still got? We’ve still got people who think the economy is unfairly stacked for the rich and against the poor:

chaos1551

So reform the tax code in a way that encourages domestic investment and discourages exorbitant executive pay. Then raise the minimum wage. The economy isn’t a zero-sum game, right?

JoeT1

Something is happening to the free market such that hard work and education, and God-given talent and brains do not provide the opportunity they once did, because more and more of the pie has been cornered by people with power. The fix is not higher taxes, it is to break their hold on the political power to rig the game.

boblesch

Unless we begin to boycott all the companies that pay their execs 100x (or more) what they pay the workforce, the problem will only continue to grow.

And we’ve still got people who think the difficulty of rising to the top in America is a feature, not a bug, and each rock star makes lots of jobs for the little people:

DOps

The people with the most talent, drive, vision of what sells, support team, and the like rise to the top. On the way, a lot of producers, roadies, web sites, venues, scalpers, resellers, and the like make a bunch of money. The federal tax revenue is substantial as are the local income, venue, sales, parking, and franchise taxes. No one complains about that.

And we even still have some middle class! Like thumbtack:

I am thankful for the ultra-successful risk takers (those who truly produce over say, hedge fund managers) who have made life better through the services and goods they have brought to America. They have provided me and my family members with work, which in turn have enabled us to educate our children and lead comfortable lives. This middle-class person owes a lot to them.

It’s a small sample size, but PostScript would estimate we had fewer people commenting simply to make witty remarks, and more to get to the heart of the matter. Fewer people, but with more making multiple posts. We’ve lost kibbitzers. We’ve gained players among the payers. More substance, less fun. Almost certainly more physically attractive. Let’s go with that until we find out more.