Tag: Inequality

Rags to Riches (to Rags Again) »

“Most income statistics present a snapshot picture as of a given moment—and their results are radically different from those statistics which follow the same given individuals over a period of years.” —Thomas Sowell Last week, CNNMoney carried a fascinating report on how rich families end up squandering their wealth: Nearly 60% of the time...
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50 Years of Mischief: The Triumph and Trashing of the Civil Rights Act »

The Civil Rights Act was not a perfect law—no law is perfect–but it did embody two principles of the long civil rights movement: First, the individual (not the group) is the measure of justice. Secondly, nondiscrimination is mandatory for the government and worth pursuing in our private lives. If policymakers had enforced the Civil Rights Act in good faith, time might have eroded the tendency to view others as members of a group, rather than as individuals.

Once Again, Government Displaces Real Aid »

The history of the growth of government is riddled with government programs driving out well-functioning arrangements for the private provision of assistance and social services, including welfare, healthcare and hospital services, unemployment assistance, disaster relief and more. So it should come as no surprise that now Obamacare is doing the same. As reported in...
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Piketty on Inequality »

The ultimate thesis in Thomas Piketty’s Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century is that the return on capital is higher than the growth in output and wages, so the owners of capital will see their wealth, and therefore, incomes, rise faster than those who earn the bulk of their incomes through labor. The distribution of...
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Piketty’s Capital: IV »

I’ve made some observations about Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century already, here, here, and here, and in this post want to note the way that the twentieth-century welfare state has contributed to the inequality that Piketty has observed. Piketty observes that growing inequality is the result of the return on capital being...
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Wait! You May Not Need to Lop Off So Many Heads »

The current U.S. population is about 318 million. Approximately 25 percent of these people are younger than 18 years of age, which leaves roughly 239 million adults. Of these, therefore, the 1% with the greatest incomes number about 2,390,000 persons. How many of these do you suppose possess extraordinary political clout? My not-entirely-wild guess...
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Piketty’s Capital: III »

In a recent post on The Beacon I argued that what Thomas Piketty called “the first fundamental law of capitalism” in his recent book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, depicted the causal relationship between the value of capital and the return earned by capital backwards. Representing the return on capital as α, the rate...
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Piketty’s Capital: II »

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is well-written and well-researched, as I have indicated already, but it has some fundamental problems with the way it depicts capital. Piketty says “the first fundamental law of capitalism” is that the share of income going to capital, α, is equal to the return on capital, r,...
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Piketty’s Capital: I »

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a surprising best-seller (how many economics books make the New York Times best-seller list?) and has been getting lots of press lately. Reading it, I have some comments and observations, which I will make in a series of posts rather than in one extended review. I’m...
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Why Occupational Licensing Is Unjust, Unneeded, and Increases Income Inequality »

Employment gives people earned satisfaction and upward mobility. It can be especially fulfilling when a person is employed in their preferred field. But government policies often deprive some people of these benefits by establishing artificial barriers to employment. One such barrier is occupational licensure that prohibits employment in a specific occupation unless a would-be...
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