An Educational Aristocracy?

I couldn’t help but be struck by the oddity of Megan McArdle‘s chief worry about inequality: But in America, money buys access to things, particularly education, but also opportunities like unpaid internships, that make it easier to get a high-paying job. This may be more worrisome than big wealth concentrations. Wealth is eroded over time, either by lazy heirs or the sheer multiplication of descendants; … Continue reading An Educational Aristocracy?

Arkes on Brown v. Board of Education

I recently attended a talk by Hadley Arkes on jurisprudence in which, among other things, he criticized the reasoning of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark school desegregation case from 1954. The Court declared the unconstitutionality of segregation on the basis of Kenneth Clark’s social science research on the self-esteem of black children, contending on that basis that “separate but … Continue reading Arkes on Brown v. Board of Education

The Rich Really are Different…

They have more money. But they don’t really have all that much more stuff: Looking at a far more direct measure of American families’ economic status — household consumption — indicates that the gap between rich and poor is far less than most assume, and that the abstract, income-based way in which we measure the so-called poverty rate no longer applies to our society. … … Continue reading The Rich Really are Different…

Why Republicans are Happier

The Washington Post reports: Most studies show that wealthy people are marginally happier than poor ones. People with pets or children are no happier than those without. People with active sex lives are — surprise! — happier than those without. No single morsel of happiness data, though, is more intriguing than this: Republicans are happier than Democrats. A 2006 Pew Research poll found that 45 … Continue reading Why Republicans are Happier

Should men pay higher taxes than women?

Spain’s Popular Party has proposed that women receive tax breaks for… being women! Since parties to its left are likely to pile on board, Spain will soon have a tax system that discriminates on the basis of gender. There’s a radical feminist argument for this, but there’s also a utilitarian argument based on the Ramsey taxation principle: If the demand or supply of something is … Continue reading Should men pay higher taxes than women?

Another Ponzi Scheme

Many have noticed that the Social Security system is essentially a Ponzi scheme, a pyramid that depends on the entry of increasing numbers of people. People who entered the system early profited immensely. People entering it when I did are fated to receive poor returns, assuming the system survives. People entering it now—that means YOU, graduates!—are going to lose big. John Hinderaker notes that the … Continue reading Another Ponzi Scheme

Beware Benevolence!

Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt point out a number of cases in which well-intended government intervention backfires. (HT: Ann Althouse.) They thus put contemporary teeth into an old conservative maxim, the Law of Unintended Consequences, which states that the unintended consequences of an act or, especially, policy ultimately outweigh the intended consequences in importance. The ADA has actually harmed employment prospects for the disabled. (This … Continue reading Beware Benevolence!