Intergenerational Mobility Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Over at Learn Liberty, I take on the recent kerfuffle over intergenerational mobility. Some scholars and journalists are saying that the U.S. has a major "problem" with mobility because its "churn" numbers (the rate at which children of rich parents fall into lower income deciles and children of poor parents rise into higher ones) are … Continue reading Intergenerational Mobility Isn’t Always a Good Thing

Putting Economic Inequality in Perspective

Many people are concerned about income and wealth inequality. I am not concerned about economic inequality as such; I care about absolute poverty (how many people live in misery because of wretched physical conditions), and I care about a broad distribution of opportunity (everyone's having a "fair shot" at economic success), but I don't see … Continue reading Putting Economic Inequality in Perspective

The Other 99 Percent

Graduation is upon us. Many of my students are graduating with higher student loan debt than they would have imagined and limited job prospects. A few weeks back when I discussed future plans with several graduating seniors, there was a sense of dismay and a sense that the odds were against them given the poor … Continue reading The Other 99 Percent

More on OECD Welfare States

In my last post, I said "total net social spending" included net public spending and mandatory private social spending. In fact, it includes voluntary private social expenditures as well. The U.S. has by far the highest voluntary social expenditures in the OECD, so if you subtract those out, the U.S. net public and mandatory private … Continue reading More on OECD Welfare States

Left Turn (Reducing Inequality, continued)

It appears that President Obama’s address on inequality was the beginning of a larger move to the left and an embrace of economic populism. As Edward-Issac Dovere  (Politico) explains: [Obama is] connecting to progressive populism with an aggressive, spending-oriented, activist government approach to the economy personified by Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio. Obama’s already … Continue reading Left Turn (Reducing Inequality, continued)

Reducing Inequality: America’s Number One Priority?

Last week, President Obama gave a speech on economic mobility and argued that addressing economic inequality was “the defining challenge of our time.” He stated: But we know that people’s frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles.  Their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles -- to make ends meet, to pay … Continue reading Reducing Inequality: America’s Number One Priority?

Social justice as an emergent property

I have great respect and (in many cases) affection for my friends at Bleeding Hearts Libertarians. But I am not a bleeding heart libertarian, and from the outset I have resisted its siren song, mostly over its endorsement of “social justice” as a moral and/or political ideal. Unlike Hayek, I do not think the concept … Continue reading Social justice as an emergent property