White House Science Czar Wrote That Redistribution of Wealth is ‘Absolutely Essential,’ Says ‘Have a Nice Day’ When Asked to Comment about It

By Nicholas Ballasy | September 30, 2010 | 1:08pm EDT

John Holdren, Director of White House Science and Technology Policy with President Barack Obama at The White House

(CNSNews.com) -- John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said “have a nice day” and otherwise declined to comment on Tuesday when asked about a statement he made that worldwide redistribution of wealth is “absolutely essential” in order to provide all human beings with a decent life.

“Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being,” Holdren wrote along with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in the final chapter of Human Ecology, a book the three co-authored in 1973. Paul Ehrlich is also author of the famous 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb. Holdren, President Obama’s top science adviser, advises the administration on issues that include health care and climate change.

CNSNews.com approached Holdren to ask him about his statement on redistributing wealth after he gave a speech on “Science, Technology, and Sustainable Economic Growth” at the Woodrow Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

When CNSNews.com started asking Holdren about the statement, he said, “I’m not talking to you. Bye bye. Have a nice day.”

CNSNews.com said: “You said in your book Human Ecology, quote, ‘Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.’”

“I hope you have a really nice day,” Holdren said as he boarded an elevator, declining further comment.

Holdren was accompanied by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology, which oversees Holdren’s White House Office of Science and Technology.

Later on Tuesday, CNSNews.com submitted a written question to Holdren about his statement on the need to redistribute wealth via email through his spokesman at the White House.

“In the ‘Synthesis and Recommendations’ section of your book, Human Ecology, you wrote, ‘Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.’ Is the Obama administration doing enough to redistribute wealth both within and among nations to provide a decent life for all?”

Neither Holdren nor his spokesperson responded.

In 1995, 22 years after Human Ecology was published, Holdren joined with Paul Ehrlich again and also Gretchen Daily of Stanford University to co-author an essay on “The Meaning of Sustainability” that was published by the World Bank. In that essay, the authors cited “maldistribution of consumption and investment” as one of the “ills that development must address” and “reduced disparities within and between countries” as one of the “requirements for sustainable improvement in well-being.”

“The large gaps between rich and poor that characterize income distribution within and between countries today are incompatible with social stability and with cooperative approaches to achieving environmental sustainability,” Holdren, Ehrlich and Daily wrote in giving their “rationale” for listing “reduced disparities within and between countries” as a requirement for sustainable well-being.

In that same essay, the authors said mankind eventually needed to face up to “a world of zero net physical growth.”

The Wilson Center, according to its Web site was established by Congress “in 1968 as the official, national memorial to President Wilson. Unlike the physical monuments in the nation's capital, it is a living memorial whose work and scholarship commemorates ‘the ideals and concerns of Woodrow Wilson.’”

“Our goal,” the center says, “is to encourage experts and the media to continue the open, informed, nonpartisan discussion of timely issues and events upon which the Center is founded.”

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