Wednesday, January 29, 2014

what could we do about income inequality?

There are all of the problems with measuring income inequality.

And let's note that most of those who profess concern also support a president who talks about it while his statistical record on the topic is woeful. Love that.

Beyond these things, there's the question of what we can do about it.

I think my ideas on school reform would be quite helpful over the long-term. But at least among those who profess concern about income inequality (II), they disagree and have nothing significant to propose instead. They're fans of the status quo.

Family structure/stability is a big player-- directly and indirectly-- but how we get the toothpaste back in that tube, esp. with public policy? The government stoked whatever cultural influences we had-- with policies that subsidized these problems. It's difficult to imagine welfare reform that would address this. Even so, how do you reverse the damage? The only thing I can imagine is spiritual revival.

Increasing the MW is always a popular prescription-- and would help a bit, by definition, with II among the employed. But for an II stat that includes the unemployed, the impact is at best mixed and nominal-- and might well be negative.

More tax and spend on the poor? Are we using pre-tax or post-tax / pre-transfer or post-transfer calculations of II this time? (Oh, you forgot to think about that? Don't worry, it's quite common to commit that sin of omission!) Even assuming "post", it's a mixed bag for *measured* II.

Caps on CEO compensation could help on the top end. But the last time we did that, it led circuitously to our current health care/insurance debacle. Well done, good intentions!


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