Current Issues

Corporate welfare

Sources

These look promising

  • Johnston, David Kay: Free Lunch (recommended by Michael Goodwin: "the various ways that taxpayers support big business")
  • Johnston, David Kay: Perfectly Legal (recommended by Michael Goodwin: "a meticulous account of how the tax code has been corrupted to hand all the money to the rich")

Race

How can we explain why so many Black and Latino men are not working? Culture? Wait, before we look for reasons to explain certain "facts," shouldn't we find out if they're true?

Stuff that's not intended to be about race can end up being about race, and vice versa

  • Since race correlates with lots of other things, whenever we address those other things, even when trying to be "color-blind," there is a racial effect (intended or not). To be blunt: what we call "redistribution" improves the lot of black people (in general) at the expense of white people (in general), not because of their race, but as an (intended or unintended) byproduct of taking from those who have more and giving to those who have less. Also, since race tends to correlate with the conditional / unconditional values, it's almost impossible to tell if any particular policy proposal is driven by competing interests or competing value systems.

Nothing about America makes sense without understanding the long shadow cast by the original sin of slavery.

And yes, it’s an integral part of the left-right divide. Look at “Why Doesn’t the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?” by Alberto Alesina — yes, that Alesina — Ed Glaeser, and Bruce Sacerdote. The authors are hardly big lefties; nonetheless, they were driven to the conclusion that it’s mainly about you-know-what:

Racial discord plays a critical role in determining beliefs about the poor. Since racial minorities are highly overrepresented among the poorest Americans, any income-based redistribution measures will redistribute disproportionately to these minorities. Opponents of redistribution in the United States have regularly used race-based rhetoric to resist left-wing policies. Across countries, racial fragmentation is a powerful predictor of redistribution. Within the United States, race is the single most important predictor of support for welfare. America’s troubled race relations are clearly a major reason for the absence of an American welfare state.

- The Issue That Won't Go Away - The New York Times

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