Hey, What’d I Miss? OTE 5/19 — 6/2

June 2nd, 2014 at 12:03 pm
  • On the Upshot: explaining why it’s difficult to lift the poor without taxing the rich.
  • Explaining how Ross Douthat makes some good points and one bad one in his pushback to my Upshot piece.
  • Recounting my argument from a Brookings panel last week on manufacturing and its wage premium.
  • Arguing taxes, transfers, and market outcomes.
  • Explaining a reason for the hold up on comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Examining the Financial Times’ forensics of Thomas Piketty’s data and explaining why I’m confident that Capital in the Twenty-First Century will remain strong.
  • Jotting down some points on Josh Biven’s blog regarding the Fed.
  • Evaluating a couple positive claims and a few negative attributes re the current economy.
  • Explaining why 2014’s Q1 negative GDP revision is less a big deal than you might think.
  • Looking at some important new work on unhappy economies in the wake of the Great Recession.
  • Examining a housing market dimension to the inequality problem.
  • Raising a fundamental question that curiously seems to be unasked: why is capital so much stronger than labor?
  • Introducing c>l to r>g.
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One comment in reply to "Hey, What’d I Miss? OTE 5/19 — 6/2"

  1. Smith says:

    From “On the Upshot: explaining why it’s difficult to lift the poor without taxing the rich.”
    This interesting piece closes with:
    “We’d all love to lift the poor without lifting a finger of sacrifice by the rich, but I don’t think it can be done.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/20/upshot/to-lift-the-poor-you-cant-avoid-taxing-the-rich.html

    Huh? Love not to sacrifice the rich? “We all” definitely does not include me, and a good many others, Piketty included. But moreover, this sentiment represents a huge fallacy I think, in considering inequality. One could easily sacrifice the rich without lifting a finger to help the poor, and this would of course be of great benefit to society, the economy, and of course, the poor especially. Letting the rich have too much money debases the currency, a well known effect commonly seen in poor neighborhoods destroyed (for the poor) by rent inflation from gentrification. The phenomena is widespread, affecting everything from real estate to college tuition to sports tickets.

    Reducing wealth and excessive income is a good unto itself, and not out of spite or envy. A more equal distribution of wealth and income is a worthy goal having many micro and macro benefits. Additionally excessive wealth and power happens to be a corrupting influence. Only the government representing the collective will of the people has the power to redress this imbalance through the power to tax. No one can seriously suggest that efforts to help the poor or middle class will be effective absent measures that effectively curb or eliminate the greed that’s part of human nature. What evidence is there of this? How about the entire historical record of the 20th century, recently highlighted in that well researched book from the heretofore little known French economist causing such a stir. There is also ample evidence that the very, very powerful and rich, the 9/10ths of the 1% numbering over a million, and earning over $400,000/year at the low end, can hardly get a single cent out of the grasping hands of the .1%. What chance then does the less powerful 99% have except through the IRS? (It’s how they got Al Capone) It’s also mathematical. If the ratio of income levels is 100 to 1, you can cut the 100 by taxing at 90% or double the 1 by say doubling the wage of everyone else through extraordinary intervention (mandatory unions? statutory wages?) Which then still leads to lower inequality? Which was implemented and proven to work?


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