For Biggest Economic Bang, Give Middle Class a Windfall
Challenging our assumptions is difficult. And when it comes to redistributing income, all sides tend to come to the table with pretty ingrained notions of what is fair or what is good.
Challenging our assumptions is difficult. It may even require first-rate intelligence, which F. Scott Fitzgerald defined as "the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." And when it comes to redistributing income, all sides tend to come to the table with pretty ingrained notions of what is fair or what is good.
Some think the government should function like Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, while others might like to see Mr. Hood behind bars for thievery.
The Economist takes on the idea that redistributing income from the rich to the poor is good for the nation's bottom line — GDP — since the poor spend money that the rich would otherwise leave sitting in their bank accounts.
When you qualify rich and poor in terms of cash flow, a different story emerges, primarily because of the American middle class, which is technically rich — they make a lot of money — but remains cash-poor — they tend to sit on illiquid assets like homes and automobiles.
If the only goal of income redistribution was to spur economic growth, then taxes paid by the rich should be given to the middle class first because they are more cash-poor than lower tax brackets and therefore more likely to spend any additional income.
"Those with lots of liquid wealth spend just 13 percent of an unexpected windfall; those living hand to mouth spend 24 percent. The wealthy-but-income-constrained react most, spending 30 percent of any windfall, suggesting they are even more cash-strapped."
Of course, our only reason for preferring an equitable society isn't about economic growth. There is also the matter of fairness, and the desire to provide everyone with an equal opportunity for success.
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Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.
- At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
- See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
- There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
A consortium of scientists and engineers have proposed that the U.S. and Mexico build a series of guarded solar, wind, natural gas and desalination facilities along the entirety of the border.
- The proposal was recently presented to several U.S. members of Congress.
- The plan still calls for border security, considering all of the facilities along the border would be guarded and connected by physical barriers.
- It's undoubtedly an expensive and complicated proposal, but the team argues that border regions are ideal spots for wind and solar energy, and that they could use the jobs and fresh water the energy park would create.
Yes, a coup d'état.
- Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
- A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
- Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
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