Posts Tagged With: Poverty

Quote of the Day

"The differences in spending on clothing, jewelry, and cars, for example, can explain half of the differences in wealth between the races (conditional on permanent income) and a significant share of the differences in education and health spending." From Marginal Revolution. The purpose of this post is reasonable discussion, not "See I told you so." I don't know why blacks and Hispanics spend a larger proportion of their expenditures on clothes and cars than whites.

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Are You F***ing Serious?

Just finished reading in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the second straight day of riots at West Philadelphia High, after a popular principal learned he was being fired in a newspaper. Some quotes from the article: "Problems at West Philadelphia High exploded last week after teachers there complained that assaults on staff in some cases were being downplayed. Initially, Vallas said he would replace James soon but he speeded the process after another staffer was attacked. On Friday, several small fires were set in the school and another teacher was assaulted during an evacuation...Two female students were arrested at the school entrance when metal detectors found a razor on one and a nail file on the other - items prohibited under the district weapons policy. More arrests are pending for two small fires that were set in lockers. The school was evacuated at 11 a.m. and again a short time later. Attendance was down to between 40 and 50 percent yesterday, said Ozzie Wright, acting co-principal. It's usually at 75 percent." And then, the kicker - "District officials hope they can calm the school today so 11th graders can take the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, the high-stakes test that determines whether schools meet federal achievement targets." I mean, come on, who's being kidded here? What are you going to say to the kids? "Hey there, I know we've had two fires and several assaults over the past week, but we really want you to show up to fill out some bubbles on a test that has no real purpose. The standardized test tells the state how smart you guys are." My guess is the smart students are at home, watching the Wire and looking out for their own safety. If I'm a WPHS student right now, there are bigger issues than a standardized test. Sorry, Philly school staff.

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Income Inequality

A lot of debate recently has been focused on the growing income gap in the United States. I am not that peeved by income inequality. Incomes at the top will rise as economies grow and companies become truly global. I am far more concerned if the equality pie is not helping the bottom 10% at all. In my opinion, better to earn 10,000 if the top is earning 1,000,000 than to earn 4,000 if the top is earning 15,000. There's more for everyone to go around, even if the slice is smaller. I would measure economic progress by how much the income of the bottom 10% is rising. However, recent research suggests people might not be happier in the more-for-everyone scenario. Steven Pinker had a great quote in the book How the Mind Works: A society can be fair, free or equal, but not all three. Income inequality strikes at the balance between being fair and being equal. I would propose taxing death more heavily so that funds cannot be easily transferred from one generation to the next. This could help make the country a better meritocracy.

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