When you put all our social programs together, low-income Americans face roughly 100% marginal tax rates. Earn an extra dollar, lose a dollar of benefits. It’s not that simple, of course, with multiple cliffs of infinite tax rates (earn an extra cent, lose a program entirely), and it depends on how many and which programs people sign up for. But the order of magnitude is right.
Update: Brookings Analysis
Update: Refutation of the Brookings analysis
Update: Response to the Piketty/Saez Claim of Rising US Inequality.
This resource features a response to the Piketty/Saez Claim of Rising US Inequality.
Update: Update on Saez and Zucman
If you are a high school debater focused on the topic of inequality, it shouldn’t take you long to discover The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay, by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.
Update: Update on the Minimum Wage
“In the year 2023, in the richest country in the history of the world, nobody should be forced to work for starvation wages… If you work 40, 50 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty. It is time to raise the minimum wage to a living wage.”
Bernie Sanders, May 4, 2023
This is Sen. Sanders’ argument for raising the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 an hour to $17.00.
Update: Update on Desmond
Debaters should be aware of Matthew Desmond’s book Poverty, by America, which contains the claim that the United States is “the richest country on earth, with more poverty than any other advanced democracy.”
Update: What’s Wrong with the Gabriel
Zucman’s/Emmanuel Saez view of inequality and the case they make for a wealth tax. The American Economics Association has awarded the prestigious John Bates Clark medal to University of California, Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman. At the link you’ll find what the AEA decision makers thought made him deserving.
Update: More on Marriage
The ethnic differences in the prevalence of traditional marriage are huge. Among the nearly five million children in the ACS from 2014 to 2021, these were the percentages of children living with married birth parents broken down by the child’s ethnicity.
Source: Charles Murray, “The Geography of Traditional Families in America.” American Enterprise Institute, April, 2023.