Income Distribution and the Left
By Arnold Kling
Chris Dillow thinks that the Left has lost its moorings on the issue of income distribution. That is, Dillow supports income redistribution, but he thinks that neither the Left nor the Right is with him.
Hayekian arguments can be applied to company bosses as well as central planners. For me, what’s really offensive about capitalism isn’t (just) the huge wages paid to bosses, but the fact that their claims to justify such rewards – that they are capable of managing massive institutions – are utterly unfounded.
That point by itself is worth an entire essay. But then there’s this:
If the state is taking 40 per cent of GDP, the tax system cannot be a force for equality. As Julian Le Grand pointed out years ago, the middle class gets a better deal from the welfare state than the poor; although we all take it for granted, isn’t it just disgusting that the best state schools are in rich areas? As a means of delivering Left objectives, the evidence suggests the state is a failure.
Echoing Dillow, it seems to me that if you wanted the government to be redistributive, you might not be so hard-line on defending Social Security, public education, and Medicare. See Bleeding-Heart Libertarianism.
UPDATE: I’d forgotten that this essay was in the queue to go on line. It discusses what I call self-marginalizing political behavior on the Left, in the context of James Bennett’s The Anglosphere Challenge.
For Discussion. The old (socialist) Left was idealistic but misguided. How does that relate to today’s paternalistic Left?