Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why We Should Stop Worrying About Inequality

John Cochran spoke at the conservative Hoover Institute as part of a program to honor the memory of one his colleagues at the University of Chicago.  Most of the speeches were in reaction the current discussions about the rise in inequality in most developed economies.  Cochran's speech reinforces some the points made by other presenters.  His speech provides a good summary of conservative reaction to the problem of growing inequality.   He argues that government is part of the problem and should not be part of the solution.  In particular, he is concerned about all of the attention that is being focused on the super rich.  He can't understand why we should be concerned about hedge fund managers earning billions.  If they earned less the poor would still be poor.  Making the tax system more progressive and confiscating the property of the rich would make us worse off.  That would encourage government to develop more programs that don't help the poor. 

I'm sure that many of Cochran's talking points got a rise out of the Hoover audience.  Its worth reading his speech to gain a better perspective on conservative reaction.  We should focus less on inequality and devote more of our attention to the factors that promote prosperity.  They are very simple.  Government should have a minimum role in the economy.  Economic freedom is the key to prosperity.  We have some problems that we need to address but reducing income inequality is not one of them.

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