In his most recent post, Matthew Kahn describes me as someone who believes that people want to keep up with the Joneses. But I’ve never felt comfortable with that way of characterizing people’s concerns about relative income, because of its apparent implication that inequality wouldn’t matter if only people could learn to ignore negative emotions [...]
Archive for the ‘Income distribution’ Category
Based on its vivid colors and exaggerated gestures, one is tempted to dismiss Academy Award Best Picture nominee Les Miserables as a cartoon. But cartoons have clarity of line and a sense of direction, not to mention momentum from frame to frame. This movie is more like the result of dropping the Sunday funnies in [...]
Perhaps the most outrageous part of Romney’s deservedly-infamous speech to the $50,000-a-plate dinner was his assertion that he inherited nothing from his upbringing. After all, he was only the son of the CEO of American Motors and then the Governor of Michigan, who went to one of the country’s best prep schools and then to [...]
Inequality of all kinds takes years off the lives of those on the bottom. So the argument for equality of access to health care – “you shouldn’t die of being poor” – actually supports a much broader program of redistribution.
You don’t have to be an altruist to earn like an Episcopalian and vote like a Puerto Rican; you just need to understand that, at the margin, a dollar spent on public goods gives you, personally, more benefit than a dollar spent on private consumption.
I’m grateful to Ross Douthat for his shout-out to Frank Zimring’s work, and mine, on reducing crime and incarceration, but it seems to me that no amount of fiddling at the edges will substitute for a substantial set of tax, spending, and transfer policies that can reverse the growth in income inequality. One of the [...]
Rich kids do better in school than poor kids, and the gap has been growing. So has the gap between what rich families spend on their children and what poor families spend on theirs, along with the overall income gap. On what planet can actual equality of opportunity for the next generation coexist with gross inequality of condition in the current generation?
When Warren Buffett challenged Mitch McConnell to help him pay down the deficit, McConnell paid him no never-mind—but a teenage girl in Northbrook, IL heard and responded, sending $300 to the Feds and asking Buffett to do the same. This is an adorable story, and the video makes it more adorable still. But let’s not [...]