The improvement in Black employment matters a lot, and not just because of the income generated. As the sociologist William Julius Wilson argued, the loss of economic opportunities as jobs moved out of urban areas was a major driving force behind social dysfunction in Black communities. I’ve long seen the recent emergence of social dysfunction in largely white small towns and rural areas left behind by a changing economy as a vindication of Wilson’s thesis (and a repudiation of “cultural” explanations). So the fact that Black America is working again is really good news on multiple fronts. But while full employment helps, racial gaps are considerably smaller now than they were circa 2000 — arguably the last time we had truly full employment. Why? I’d argue — this will probably get me in trouble on both the right and the left — that racism and racial discrimination, while both still very real, have gradually declined over time, at least in a way that’s reflected in employment numbers.
- Date Posted:
- May 23, 2023
Senator Bill Cassidy proposes that, over a five-year period, the federal government should borrow approximately $1.5 trillion. The current federal borrowing rate is roughly 3.9%. The federal government would reinvest those funds in stocks, private equity, hedge funds, or other instruments that are riskier than U.S. Treasury bonds but offer higher expected returns. The fund would hold its investments for 75 years, presumably building interest along the way. Until then, the federal government would borrow to cover Social Security’s funding shortfalls. After 75 years, the investment fund could, in theory at least, repay that borrowing. As Wharton School economist Kent Smetters has shown, Cassidy’s approach is not meaningfully different from simply increasing the capital gains tax: When the stock market goes up, the federal government takes a slice of the gains. Everything else is simply window dressing.