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The Sensible Way to Help the Poor and Reduce Poverty

If there was an award for the most dramatic political development of 2016, it would presumably be the election of Donald Trump. If there was an award for the best policy reform of 2016, my vote would be the constitutional spending cap in Brazil. If there was an award for the greatest outburst of sensibility […]

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Debunking Inequality Myths

I shared a very amusing column last year about “a modest proposal” to reduce income inequality. Written tongue-in-cheek by David Azerrad of the Heritage Foundation, the premise was that society could be made more “fair” by exiling – or perhaps even selling to the highest bidder – America’s richest people. David’s piece cleverly made the […]

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The Left’s Inequality Fixation: Factually Wrong (but Personally Profitable)

I’m sometimes guilty of repeating myself. I write over and over again on topics such as the flat tax and spending caps (and don’t forget my Golden Rule!), though I hope each time I bring something new to the discussion. Another issue that motivates me is the debate about inequality, redistribution, and growth. I get […]

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Hillary, Bernie, and the Fixed-Pie Fallacy

I don’t know whether it’s because I’m dedicated or masochistic, but I woke up at 3:00 AM in Serbia to live-tweet the Democratic presidential debate. In retrospect, staying in bed would have been a better choice. This debate was basically the same as the others, with both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders competing on who […]

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Leftist Tax Policy: Shoot at the Rich, Wound the Poor

Folks on the left tell us that they want to help the less fortunate. I sometimes wonder if their real motive is to penalize success and punish the “rich,” but let’s be charitable and assume that many of them truly wish to help the poor. That’s a noble sentiment, to be sure, but this is […]

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Economic Mobility, Class Warfare, and Poverty

The quality of economic analysis from politicians is never good, but it becomes even worse during election season. The class-warfare rhetoric being spewed by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton is profoundly anti-empirical. Our leftist friends genuinely seem to think the economy is a fixed pie and that it’s their job to use coercive government power […]

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More Poor-to-Rich Redistribution from the Wacky World of Washington

I’ve written about how statist policies help the rich and hurt the poor. And I’ve also pontificated on the destructive and foolish subsidies dispensed by the execrable Department of Agriculture. Now let’s mix those two issues (though I hasten to add that this isn’t like math…two negatives don’t make a positive. Here’s an infographic from […]

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Biggest Takeaway from Pew Report on Income Trends: Making America More like France Won’t Help the Middle Class

Whenever I pontificate about the health of the American economy, I feel like Goldilocks. Instead of arguing that the economic porridge is too hot or too cold, or that the economic bed is too hard or too soft, I conclude that we’re stuck in the middle. We generally outperform Europe’s high-tax welfare states, but we […]

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Statist Policies Create Unjust Forms of Inequality

I don’t like the inequality debate because it’s a distraction from the far more important issue of how to generate more growth. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to once again address the topic. Let’s start with a moral observation: There’s nothing wrong with the kind of inequality that results from honest exchange. Bill Gates earns far […]

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Make Up Your Minds, Crazy Statists: Is Terrorism Caused by Climate Change or Inequality?

I’ve admitted before that I have no idea whether global warming is a real problem, but I can say with considerable certainty that there are two reasons why I’m very skeptical of the environmental policy agenda. First, the serious environmentalists believe in central planning and other forms of statism. Second, radical environmentalists are nutjobs. In […]

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Four Principles to Boost America’s Economic Ladder of Opportunity

In conversations with statists, I’ve learned that many of them actually believe the economy is a fixed pie. This misconception leads them to think that rich people get rich only by somehow making others poor. In this simplistic worldview, a bigger slice for one person means less for everyone else. In reality, though, their fixation […]

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Scholarly Evidence against the Welfare State

I repeatedly try to convince people that the welfare state is bad for both taxpayers and poor people. Sometimes I’ll add some more detailed economic analysis and explain that redistribution programs undermine growth by reducing labor supply (with Obamacare being the latest example). And I’ve even explained that the welfare state has a negative impact […]

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Regarding Research on Inequality, AEI > IMF

When I wrote the other day that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development was the worst international bureaucracy, I must have caused some envy at the International Monetary Fund. One can imagine the tax-free bureaucrats from the IMF, lounging at their lavish headquarters, muttering “Mitchell obviously hasn’t paid enough attention to our work.” And […]

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Even More Evidence that the OECD Is the Worst International Bureaucracy

What’s the worst international bureaucracy? There’s certainly a strong argument the International Monetary Fund deserves that award. I’ve even referred to the IMF as the Dr. Kevorkian of the world economy. The United Nations also could claim the award since it wastes lots of money and routinely promotes bad policy across the globe. Let’s not […]

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Leftist Narrative on Inequality Is Debunked by Academic Evidence

The proper view on inequality is that it doesn’t matter. That assumes, of course, that people are earning their income honestly rather than via government-enabled cronyism. To elaborate, some people will become rich in a system of honest and competitive markets, but that’s not at the expense of the poor. Indeed, the talents and skills […]

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Honest Leftist Admits Desire for Spite-Drive Tax Policy

Every so often, I’ll assert that some statists are so consumed by envy and spite that they favor high tax rates on the “rich” even if the net effect (because of diminished economic output) is less revenue for government. In other words, they deliberately and openly want to be on the right side (which is […]

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The Left’s Inequality Fixation Is Economically Foolish and Politically Impotent

I don’t understand the left’s myopic fixation on income inequality. If they genuinely care about the less fortunate, they should be focused on policies that produce higher incomes. But instead, they agitate for class warfare and redistribution, which leads me to believe that many of them hate the rich more than they love the poor. […]

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In another Episode of Economic Malpractice, the OECD Claims Higher Taxes and More Redistribution Will Boost Growth

While there are plenty of reasons to dislike the World Bank, United Nations, and (especially) the International Monetary Fund, the worst international bureaucracy on a per-dollar spent basis has to be the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD used to be relatively benign by the standards of international bureaucracies, but it has […]

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Income Inequality and Guilt-Ridden Leftists

Our leftist friends have decided that income inequality is a scourge that must be addressed. That might be a noble goal if they were motivated by a desire to improve the lives of the less fortunate. Based on their policy proposals, though, it appears that the main goal is to punish the so-called rich. And […]

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A Case Study of Why Growth Trumps Inequality

There’s a new book by French economist Thomas Piketty, called “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,”  that supposedly identifies the Achilles’ Heel of the market economy. Piketty argues that the rate of return to capital is higher than the economy-wide growth rate and that this will lead to untenable inequality as the rich grab a larger […]

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