Nothing inherently belongs to anyone. What belongs to who is always a function of policy and the way they construct our economic institutions. Accordingly, all incomes are, at a basic level, politically determined. So, you should not act like some kind of baseline (pre-tax market income for instance) demarcates everyone’s true income, with all other [...]
Following the interaction that culminated in my doing a small survey of wonkblog posts to see how they use the word “redistribution,” there has been more discussing going on. Mike Konczal has this post about redistribution, which builds on a sports metaphor I first saw him unveil on twitter a short [...]
Horizontal equity is the idea that people with the same incomes should pay the same taxes. I’ve made some remarks here and there about horizontal equity when trying to explain my view on Pay It Forward. Pay It Forward is a way of funding free higher education by imposing a flat tax on college graduates.
The correct view on the naturalness of distribution is that it isn’t natural. Who gets what is all made up and we can make it up how we want. That’s not to say it’s all arbitrary and all ways of doing it are equal. It is to say that you have to come up with [...]
I wrote a post today about Brad Plumer’s redistribution blindspot. The basic point is that Plumer uses the word “redistribution” in an ideological way that privileges an “everyday libertarian” baseline, deviations from which are considered redistribution.
This set off the twitters, with primarily Dylan Matthews arguing back. I never did figure out what [...]
Some Brown students interrupted the speech of Ray Kelly, New York Police Chief. Then people argued about it on twitter. Then the Nation ran a point-counterpoint style forum for some of the key actors. Half think it is OK to interrupt and effectively shut down the speech. Half think it is not.
I don’t actually know if Kati Haycock is wrong for America, but she is definitely wrong on Pay It Forward. Pay It Forward is a plan that levies a time-limited graduate tax to fund free tuition for Oregon public schools (so like, 3 percent of graduate income for 24 years or some such). [...]
Elizabeth Stoker has a new piece at Salon that I contributed on. The title is a bit odd. The point of the piece is that most women work because they absolutely have to. You need money to live. Of course, most women don’t like working. Most men don’t like working. You do it [...]
In the fallout from Russell Brand’s advocacy of egalitarianism socialism, some folks complained about the attention paid to him, arguing that really it is the most exploited and most oppressed that make social change. Others pushed back, Doug Henwood leading the charge, arguing that, as an empirical matter, social movements have often been comprised of [...]