Hopefully a short post. This idea doesn’t seem radical to me but given the conversation I suppose its different than what most people have in mind.
Its not immediately clear to me that we should care at all about inequality per se. Some folks have argued that income inequality leads to political inequality. Of course, that is not something I am likely to care about either.
What I am concerned with is the conditions that poor people face.
An argument that does have currency with me is that if we can successfully take access to resources from richer people and given them to poorer people then this is a good idea. Not because it reduces inequality, but because it simply increases the opportunity sets of poorer folks which I think is generally better than increasing the opportunity sets of richer folks.
However, ideally I would want this to have as little destruction of total opportunity sets as possible which might mean tolerating very high or increasing levels of inequality in general.
More concretely it could mean creating an economy where the rich got even richer but we could redistribute some of that wealth to poorer folks.
Some might argue that if the rich become super rich they will resist this. Maybe, but its not clear to me that this happens in practice.
Even if you think of the Reagan Revolution as have reduced the amount of redistribution that actually gets to the poor that happened at a time of lower inequality.
It is true that Welfare Reform happened during relatively prosperous times but I think that is a more complex issue. In the 90s, however, the earned income tax credit seemed to be very popular and of course as societies has become richer they tend to increase Social Security for the disabled and elderly.
I don’t mean this to attach to any particularly policy proposal (besides radically lowering immigration restrictions) but just as a general way of thinking about the issue. The question is what can we do to improve the lives of the least advantaged.
Whatever inequality winds up being under this strategy is fine by me.