Who's the Fairest of Them All? The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America

Who's the Fairest of Them All? The Truth about Opportunity, Taxes, and Wealth in America

Stephen Moore

Language: English

Pages: 136

ISBN: 1594036845

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

President Obama has declared that the standard by which all policies and policy outcomes are judged is fairness. He declared in 2011 that "we've sought to ensure that every citizen can count on some basic measure of security. We do this because we recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any moment, might face hard times, might face bad luck, might face a crippling illness or a layoff." And that, he says, is why we have a social safety net. He says that returning to a standard of fairness where anyone can get ahead through hard work is the "issue of our time." And perhaps it is.

This book explores what it means for our economic system and our economic results to be "fair." Does it mean that everyone has a fair shot? Does it mean that everyone gets the same amount? Does it mean the government can assert the authority to forcibly take from the successful and give to the poor? Is government supposed to be Robin Hood determining who gets what? Or should the market decide that? The surprising answer: nations with free market systems that allow people to get ahead based on their own merit and achievement are the fairest of them all.

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with 24.9 cubic feet of storage capacity; this size freezer is the closest size available today to that of Sears Best in 1975.) Sears’ Best side-by-side fridge-freezer: 139.62 hours of work required in 1975 (to buy a fridge with 22.1 cubic feet of storage capacity); 79.56 hours of work required in 2006 (to buy a comparable fridge with 22.0 cubic feet of storage capacity.) Sears’ lowest-priced answering machine: 20.43 hours of work required in 1975; 1.1 hours of work required in 2006. A

answer to each of these questions is obviously, no. Those who say the middle class is no better off today should try living for a week or two without a personal computer, a cell phone, a color TV (much less, cable, or satellite, or HD), the Internet, air conditioning, modern medicines, Walmart, a washing machine, cheap air travel, and so on. For most of us, our kids are our most prized assets. Fifty years ago the death rate for children was twice as high as it is today.26 In sum, the average

to grow at a steady pace even when tax rates were lowered. Professors Saez and Diamond argue that tax rates of 70 percent or more can raise a lot of revenues as long as Congress eliminates loopholes so that high income earners won’t be able to shield their income from taxes as they did in the 1950s, ‛60s, and ‛70s. This is the ultimate in political naïveté. Have these two scholars even been to Washington? High tax rates create the lobbying frenzy for tax shelters. Even the left’s moral case for

stimulus passed in 2009. Apparently, there are no negative multiplier effects to tax increases. Keynesianism is also crumbling before our very eyes because the promised recovery in jobs in the United States and Europe has simply not materialized. The economic rebound in Europe from colossal government borrowing has only brought on a new round of financial turmoil. The nations with the most debt are getting clobbered in global markets, as capital flees these nations. Japan since 1991 should have

credited with a $25 billion contribution to our GNP by mid-1965, a $30 billion effect by the end of 1965, and an ultimate $36 billion increment.” Remember: This was 1966 when the U.S. economy was about one-fifth as large as today, so $36 billion was a more than a 10 percent addition to national output. Even more shocking was the impact on the distribution of taxes paid. Lower tax rates on the rich led to these income classes paying a much larger share of the tax burden. Americans earning over

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