Paul Krugman diskuterar vad som verkar ha varit ett mycket intressant tal av Ben Bernanke. Det handlade säkert om tusen andra saker, men Krugman fastnar för Bernanke’s implicita försvar för en hög marginalskatt, eller åtminstone en tydlig omfördelningsideologi.
OK, this is, whether BB realizes it or not (he probably does) basically a Rawlsian view of the world, in which you think of life as a kind of lottery in which you draw a ticket that includes things like your genetic endowment as well as the wealth of your parents. And what you’re supposed to do, ethically, is support the economic and social system you would choose if you had to enter that lottery not knowing what ticket you were going to draw — if you were making political choices behind the “veil of ignorance”.
Jag är så förtjust i detta. Att göra sina ideologiska val som om man i morgon slumpvis skulle födas in i Sverige, eller för den delen världen.
Think about it. A meritocracy is a system in which the people who are the luckiest in their health and genetic endowment; luckiest in terms of family support, encouragement, and, probably, income; luckiest in their educational and career opportunities; and luckiest in so many other ways difficult to enumerate–these are the folks who reap the largest rewards. The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world, and to share their luck with others.
Med stor makt kommer stort ansvar och sånt där.
So why not favor complete leveling, America as Cuba? Because for many reasons, both economic and political, we favor a market economy in which people make decentralized decisions about working, saving, and so on. And this means that incentive effects become important; you can’t levy 100 percent taxation on the rich, or completely insulate the poor from any consequences of low income, without destroying the incentives you need to make the economy work.
The question then becomes one of numbers…
…And we have a pretty good idea, based on careful statistical studies, of where that optimal top rate lies; 73 percent, say Diamond and Saez, maybe 80 percent, say Romer and Romer.