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Tag Archives: Inequality

Heckman Haiku

Jim Heckman's interview with Gonazlo Schwartz at the Archbridge Institute is making the rounds of economists. I admire it for how much the interviewer and Heckman pack in so little space, so pithy, well expressed, and so happy to trounce on today's pieties. (As blog readers will have noticed, short does not come easily to me.) It's hard to summarize a Haiku -- go read the whole thing. But I'll try.Gonzalo Schwarz: Many commentators have said that it is not possible to achieve the...

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COVID-19 is not the great leveller, it’s the great revealer

Source: https://twitter.com/stphnmaher/status/1249767849352101890?s=20 In a medical sense, COVID-19, as highly contagious as it is, can be thought of as the great leveller. No one has immunity, and we face the health risk of this virus with a sense of our common humanity. But in a socio-economic sense, it is not as contagious. The jobs some of us hold give us an economic immunity, and we face the economic risk of this virus with a very different sense of our interconnectedness. Last...

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A Better Wealth and Taxes

CATO has put out a much-improved version of my "Wealth and Taxes" series on wealth inequality and the wealth tax. Html here and pdf here. Many thanks to Chris Edwards and the CATO staff for editing and formatting it, and getting it out in this nice format. ********Alan Reynolds wrote with interesting comments. Among others,the $18+ trillion now invested in retirement, education and health savings accounts has gradually made middle-income investment income more and more invisible in...

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The Elephant’s family

David Brooks essay in the Atlantic "The nuclear family was a mistake" has a lot of interesting ideas. We used to (1800s) largely live with extended family. In the mid 20th century we moved to mom, dad and kids, the nuclear family that David thinks is a mistake. Now we increasingly live the widely parodied Life of Julia (Taranto scathing review at WSJ, guide to parodies at Atlantic), individuals whose main relationship in life is to the federal government.One aspect, tangential...

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Grumpy Podcast

We're trying a Grumpy Economist Podcast. The first one talks about my series on wealth inequality and wealth tax. I can't stand listening to myself, as think I always sound dumb and regret all the things I could have said better, so I haven't listened. But I hope it sounds better to the rest of you and provides a useful new grumpy outlet. Thanks to Scott Immergut and Troy Senik who do all the work. 

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Wokeademia

I'm working on an economic view of political polarization. One aspect of that project is the extent to which many institutions in our society have become politicized. Today's post is one little data point in that larger story. It tells a little story of how to politicize an institution and silence dissenters.Jerry Coyne reports on the "diversity equity and inclusion statement" required of anyone hired by the University of California, or desiring a raise or promotion. This is a required...

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Ferguson and the billionaires at Davos

In my last post, I commented on Joe Stiglitz view, heading to Davos, that billionaires and corporate leaders are anxious to pollute the air.  In my wealth tax series I reported on the popular view on the Warren Sanders Saez Zucman view that corporate leaders and billionaires represent a regressive right wing political force, that must be stopped by any means including expropriation of their wealth, even if that means destroying the businesses that make them rich.My colleague Niall...

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The best of times, or the worst of times?

So how is the economy doing? A good friend passed along for comment a recent project syndicate essay by Nobel Prize winning economist Joe Stiglitz. For an alternative view, I found interesting commentary on the CEA website,  "The Impact of the Trump Labor market on historically disadvantaged Americans" and "The blue-collar boom reduces inequality"A fact that cannot be missed is that overall GDP is growing. In terms of the overall economy, 2019 was the best year in all of human history....

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Wealth and Taxes, Part V

Wealth and Taxes Part V -- it's all about politicsSo what is the question to which measuring wealth distributions and a wealth tax are the answer?To briefly review, in Part I we met the fact that "wealth is measured as "capitalized income," Y/r. But only some kinds of income and with r choices that blew up measured wealth inequality.  In Part II we learned that a big reason wealth inequality widened is that interest rates fell. If r falls, Y/r rises, but it's the same Y.  In...

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Wealth and Taxes, Part IV

This post continues from Part IIIThe Wealth Tax.So, if arguing about the ill-defined and ill-measured distribution of wealth lies in service of the wealth tax, what is the question to which the wealth tax is an answer?Revenue and Redistribution -- good and bad taxesPreamble: Economists have no real professional expertise to object to redistribution, or argue for it. Swallow hard, you may not like it for political, moral or other reasons -- or you may be all for it for those reasons -- but...

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