Inequality: More How Nots

I shared a post by AEI’s James Pethokoukis last month on how not to reduce inequality. In a recent post, he provides more reasons to be wary of the usual “solutions” provided by the hardcore anti-income inequality crowd. These include:

  • “[C]ompanies that are best able to navigate the globalized, technologically intensive modern are more profitable and pay their workers better than those who can’t.”
  • “A new study on preschool finds that kids who attended Tennessee’s pre-K program were worse off by the end of first grade than kids who didn’t. And a new study on Quebec’s universal childcare program finds that “children’s outcomes have worsened since the program was introduced along a variety of behavioral and health dimensions.”
  • “Economist Alan Krueger, a former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, cautions that a national $15 an hour minimum wage “is beyond international experience, and could well be counterproductive.””
  • “What Is the Case for Paid Maternity Leave? by Gordon Dahl, Katrine Løken, Magne Mogstad, and Kari Vea Salvanes  looked at a series of policy reforms in Norway which expanded paid leave from 18 to 35 weeks and found that “the expansions had little effect on a wide variety of outcomes, including children’s school outcomes, parental earnings and participation in the labor market in the short or long run, completed fertility, marriage or divorce.””

In other words, income inequality is in part driven by inequality between companies, pre-K schooling doesn’t help and might actually make kids worse off, minimum wage hikes won’t do the trick, and neither will paid maternity leave.

He ends, “I dunno, maybe there needs to be a bit more humility, more skepticism — particularly from the media— as we hurtle forward toward IKEAmerica.