San Antonio Express columnist Michael Taylor praised my chapter, “The Economics of Inequality,” in Oxford University Press’ new “United States Income, Wealth, Consumption, and Inequality.”
“In Chapter 10, Edward Conard makes the case for what I think of as the Mitt Romney — or previously orthodox Republican — view of economic policy. If we are unequal, Conard asks, what explains it? Is it unfair crony capitalism? Or is it from innovation and gains to productivity? Conard firmly believes it’s the latter.
Conard argues it would be reckless to attack or diminish — meaning tax and regulate — the innovators in the United States. Conard’s diagnosis of wealth and income inequality is that we have too few highly educated, highly skilled workers. Rather than bemoan inequality, Conard points to just the opposite, writing, “We should celebrate rising payoffs for successful risk-taking as good fortune.”
As for transfer payments and social safety nets, Conard has a warning: “It would be reckless to confiscate outsized rewards for success, whether from companies or individuals.” And further, “redistributing the ownership of future cash flows to consumers will not only demotivate risk-taking, but it will also diminish the amount of risk and investment owners demand businesses take. Less risk-taking and investment will slow growth and diminish prosperity.”
I’ve been a fan for a number of years of Conard, whose bestselling books are “Unintended Consequences,” about the 2008 mortgage debacle, and “The Upside of Inequality,” about, well, exactly what the title says.
I’m not saying I’m a fan because I agree with everything he advocates. I’m a fan because he is clear, rational and consistent. He’s somebody you can debate with. He takes his pro-market ideas seriously. He makes capitalism sound like something to be proud of.
Taken as a whole, “The United States Income, Wealth, Consumption and Inequality” sets the table for the money conversation we should be having.”
Read the full review here.