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July 06, 2005

A Real Ownership Society

Matthew Yglesias calls for a real Ownership Society:

He writes:

TPMCafe || Capital and Inequality: [Such] policies... would help curb inequality in the rather straightforward way that they involve net transfers of money from richer people to poorer people.... [W]hy... would [you] do this through... asset ownership and special accounts rather than cash benefits[?]... [P]olitical culture. Americans are very taken with the idea of "equality of opportunity"... [so] it's always useful to frame efforts to help poor people as efforts to help poor children who are innocent of whatever sins against the Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism poor adults are imagined to be guilty of....

[I]t's more politically powerful to put together programs with universal benefits.... Handing out cash benefits on a universal basis, however, is illogical in a way that handing out a universal lump-sum of assets at birth isn't... a "property-owning democracy" brought down into the muck of real-world policymaking.... [S]ubsidizing the purchase of wealth-generating assets... [is] America's historical approach to public policy...

Posted by DeLong at July 6, 2005 02:51 PM