In rural areas, there is often a heated debate over economic development that essentially boils down to a choice between industrial jobs and tourism jobs. Both come with advantages and disadvantages, but to pit these two sectors against each other in an either-or discussion is a false dichotomy. My hometown provides a good example of how industry and tourism can coexist.
It’s common for people to pretend public education is free. But it’s not. Parents buy access to certain public schools with their mortgage or rent check. A 2012 study of the nation’s 100 largest metro areas found houses near high-achieving public schools cost approximately $11,000 more per year, or 2.4 times as much, as houses near low-achieving public schools. It also found the typical low-income child attends a school that scores below average on state tests, whereas the typical middle- or upper-income child attends a school that scores above average.
A new book by French economist Thomas Piketty on “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” has recently caused a major stir on the opinion pages of newspapers and magazines. Piketty has resurrected from the ash heap of history Karl Marx’s claim that capitalism inescapably leads to a worsening unequal distribution of wealth with dangerous consequences for human society.
Minimum wage has become a contentious political issue, even though it has nothing to do with a living wage. Workers are paid for the worth of the job they are paid to do. Nevertheless, Democrats plan to tap into what they perceive as income inequality by using minimum wage as a plank in their populist economic platform heading into the November elections.
One hundred years ago this month, on December 23, 1913, the Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act, establishing a national central-banking system in the United States. The governing board of the Federal Reserve was organized on August 12, 1914, and the Federal Reserve banks opened for operation on November 16, 1914.
President Obama’s speech yesterday on inequality is being lauded as one of the best of his life, by people who paid attention to it. It’s a sad speech to read, in some sense, since it contains within it the promise of a presidency that we never saw come to fruition – the sort of policy effort that might have been launched to bipartisan success in the first year of his presidency, instead of his effort on Obamacare.
Once one properly understands wealth, it makes absolutely no sense for governments, churches, or other institutions to think they can make the world or the country better off by confiscating wealth from some people and giving it to others.