To Reduce Inequality, Start With Families.

The French economist Thomas Piketty swept across the United States last week with a dire warning: Income inequality isn’t going to go away, and it probably will get worse. Only policies that directly address the problem — in particular, progressive taxation — can help us change course.

At a panel discussion in Washington of Piketty’s new blockbuster, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” the American economist Robert Solow, who served on President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisers, took the long view as he formulated his response to the idea of trying to democratize ownership of capital in our country.

“Good luck with that,” he said.

The pessimism expressed by Solow, an 89-year-old Nobel laureate who is a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is well-founded.

Since President Obama declared in his State of the Union address that fighting inequality was the “defining project of our generation,” Democrats and Republicans alike have seized upon the theme to connect with voters. Their dueling campaigns have, predictably enough, devolved into an extension of the futile partisan deadlock that characterizes our stillborn political debates on almost every issue.

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Article Credit
“To Reduce Inequality, Start With Families.”
By Judith Warner
Opinionator. The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2014.