Income inequality

The Telos of Liberalism: Your Children’s Bedtime Stories

Featured image The largest source of inequality today is the family, so it is not surprising that liberals obsessed with inequality have to control family life eventually, either by nationalizing children (Plato’s idea, only he was kidding), or by extending regulation to family matters. Think this is far-fetched? The Australian Broadcasting Company has found a philosopher named Adam Swift who thinks parents reading to their children helps increase inequality, and therefore we »

A Modest Proposal to Reduce “Inequality”

Featured image So Obama has had to abandon his plan to tax 529 college savings plans to pay for his “free” community college proposal, because lo and behold lots of middle class people are 529 savers.  But Republicans could still enable Obama to pay for this proposal with a tax that actually hits the genuine rich: a surtax on large private college endowments—say on all endowments that are more than something like »

Picking on Piketty, Part 5

Featured image We’ve noted the weaknesses of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century before (here, here, here, and here), but what the heck, with France ruining Piketty’s and Krugman’s Monday by cutting its high income surtax, we might as well note the latest torpedo aimed at Piketty. It comes from the website Capx (“for popular capitalism”), in a post entitled “Ten Truths About Income Inequality.” All ten are worth taking in, »

A book for all seasons

Featured image Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the book of the season. Published by Harvard University Press, it is a surprise best-seller. At the time of its publication earlier this year it neatly fit Obama’s theme of the moment on income inequality. Readers seem to have abandoned the book at page 26, as Obama seems to have abandoned the theme of income inequality. As the title of his book »

More Picking on Piketty

Featured image As John notes below, Thomas Piketty’s empirical work appears to be unraveling, and if not in fact fraudulently manipulated, it is at least highly contestable.  The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson wonders, where was Harvard University Press?  The answer is disconcerting: the book is simply making Harvard University Press too much money for them to care about accuracy.  Maybe Piketty should just re-render his findings in the shape of a hockey stick »

The “Rich” Are Everywhere

Featured image When Scott and I wrote “The Truth About Income Inequality,” one of the highlights of our pre-internet career, we emphasized the remarkable degree of income mobility that has long characterized the American economy. The rich man and the poor man, we argued, are largely the same man in different stages of life. In recent years, some have tried to show that income mobility has lessened, but longitudinal studies don’t support »

Marxist blues again

Featured image The visit of French economist Thomas Piketty to the United States has not quite induced Beatlemania, Scott Winship writes at Forbes, but rather the Washington analogue of teenage frenzy. In the New York Times, Jennifer Schuessler might lend credence to the Beatlemania that Winship disclaims. “Economist receives rock star treatment,” Schuessler reports. Indeed, you can see the frenzy through the New York Times alone. Yesterday’s Times brought us Ross Douthat’s »

Krugman to the Rescue!

Featured image There’s hardly anyone who can top former Enron adviser (TM James Taranto) Paul Krugman in the sweepstakes for bemoaning income inequality, and so it makes perfect sense that City University of New York would hire Krugman for $25,000 per month to be a grandee at its new center to study the problem.  The Onion and The Daily Show may as well take the rest of the day off. The offer »

On Inequality, Voters Aren’t Buying the Democrats’ Solution

Featured image Word is that President Obama’s State of the Union speech will focus on inequality. This is no surprise, as the Democrats have concluded that inequality is the issue that gives them the best chance to distract from Obamacare’s failures and fire up their base. It also offers an implicit rejoinder to the fact that Obama has presided over a lousy economy for the last five years: sure the economy is »

Inequality — a necessary ingredient of New York’s greatness

Featured image At his inauguration, New York’s new mayor Bill DeBlasio denounced the city’s economic inequality. He seemed to argue that to remain truly great, New York must remedy income inequality. I submit, however, that New York is great in part because of income inequality. The wealth at the top end of the economic spectrum clearly has played a major role in the city’s greatness. For one thing, the very rich have »

Home economics

Featured image Michael Barone has written an important column about the relationship between the breakdown of the American family and income inequality and lack of social mobility. Barone relies in part on Nick Shultz’s book Home Economics: The Consequences of Changing Family Structure which I have not read. Barone’s thesis — that growing up outside of a two-parent family means lower income, less social mobility, and less “human capital” — is not »