How to Create a More Just and Equal Society


In a recent Washington Post column, “Government is Not Beholden to the Rich”, the economics writer Robert Samuelson shows that the federal government is actually “beholden to the poor and middle class.  It redistributes from the young, well-off and wealthy to the old, needy and unlucky.”
For example, in 2006 “53% of non-interest federal spending represented individual benefits and healthcare.  Of these transfers (nearly $1.3 trillion), almost 60% went to the elderly.  Of the non-elderly’s $550 billion of benefits and healthcare, the poorest fifth of households received half.  The non-elderly paid about 85% of the taxes, with the richest fifth covering two-thirds of that.  If government taxes and transfers – what people pay and get – are lumped together, the average elderly household received a net payment of $13,900 in 2006; the poorest fifth of non-elderly households received $12,600.  By contrast, the net tax payment for the richest fifth of non-elderly households averaged $66,000.”
A couple of months ago a Wall Street Journal Op Ed “Obama’s Economy Hits His Voters Hardest” by the economist Stephen Moore, points out that during the time period 1981 – 2008, the Great Moderation, income for black women was up by 81%, followed by white women up 67%, black men up 31% and, finally, white men up only 8%.  Of course, all of these groups have lost income in the last four years, during the very weak recovery from the Great Recession.
The answer is clear.  The best way to help low income people lift themselves up is not to redistribute even more government resources to them but rather to boost the economy to create more and better jobs.  There are tried and true methods to get this done: tax reform (to encourage more risk taking and entrepreneurship), immigration reform (to provide more willing workers) and true healthcare reform (to get healthcare spending under control).
We need national leaders who understand how to make the economy grow faster and are able to stay focused on this urgent task.

2 thoughts on “How to Create a More Just and Equal Society

  1. Jack,
    I would agree with you except that obviously ain’t gonna happen from this state and many others where (mostly Republican) Senators and Representatives are committed to doing Nothing! about Immigration reform lest Obama take any credit for it, to offering Nothing! towards any Health Care reform since Richard Nixon!!, and seem to see tax reform principally as a way to (Mainly) reward their wealthier contributors. I mean – Terry!, Fischer!, and (Save us) Ricketts! and

  2. I think that you’re too pessimistic! Many Republicans support giving illegal immigrants some form of legal status (such as guest worker status) which would be a huge step forward with or without a promise of eventual citizenship. I consider Obamacare to be healthcare extension rather than healthcare reform. We spend 18% of GDP on healthcare which is double what any other country spends. True healthcare reform would control overall costs which Obamacare does not do. The tax reform which I espouse means lower rates offset by closing loopholes and deductions (another name for crony capitalism). This is what we need to give our economy a big boost. I believe that measures such as these are quite doable with compromise by both sides.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s