Pages I refer to often

  • Income Distribution in the US
    How is our income distributed? Well, it is pretty concentrated. How concentrated? Take a look.
  • Progress and Poverty, by Henry George
    Here are links to online editions of George's landmark book, Progress & Poverty, including audio and a number of abridgments -- the shortest is 30 words! I commend this book to your attention, if you are concerned about economic justice, poverty, sprawl, energy use, pollution, wages, housing affordability. Its observations will change how you approach all these problems. A mind-opening experience!
  • Wealth Concentration Tables from 2004 SCF: Bottom 90%, Next 9% and Top 1%
    Aggregated data by net worth quantile, for various kinds of wealth. With calculations you won't find anywhere else!
  • Wealth Concentration Tables from 2004 SCF: 50-40-5-4-1
    These tables show how concentrated the ownership of various kinds of assets are. With calculations you won't find anywhere else! This version is less aggregated: Bottom 50%, Next 40%, Next 5%, Next 4% and Top 1%.

Categories

Books I Value

  • Henry George: Progress and Poverty: An inquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth ... The Remedy
    This is perhaps the most important book ever written on the subjects of poverty, political economy, how we might live together in a society dedicated to the ideals Americans claim to believe are self-evident. It will provide you new lenses through which to view many of our most serious problems and how we might go about solving them: poverty, sprawl, long commutes, despoilation of the environment, housing affordability, wealth concentration, income concentration, concentration of power, low wages, etc. Read it online, or in hardcopy.
  • Bob Drake's abridgement of Henry George's original: Progress and Poverty: Why There Are Recessions and Poverty Amid Plenty -- And What To Do About It!
    This is a very readable thought-by-thought updating of Henry George's longer book, written in the language of a newsweekly. A fine way to get to know Henry George's ideas. Available online at progressandpoverty.org and http://www.henrygeorge.org/pcontents.htm

Where Else Might You Look?

Sites I enjoy

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« Income Mobility and the Persistence Of Millionaires, 1999 to 2007 | Main | A Neuroscientist, Nature and Nurture, and America's Children in Financial Distress »

June 24, 2010

Comments

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Nicholas D. Rosen

I'd be careful of numbers from CASA and Mr. Califano. They've been caught making statements that were definitely not true (about teenagers drinking some very large percentage of all the liquor consumed in America, for example). There's also room for disagreements about the significance of statistics (e.g., to what extent is correlation causation?) even when the numbers themselves are not bogus. Thirdly, there's room for political disagreement even when the statistics are not in dispute. I'm not eager to let the Drug WArriors impose compulsory testing and then "treatment" on Medicaid recipients, children, and various other segments of the population.

Anyway, what does this have to do with tax reform. If we fixed our economic problems, I fear that human cussedness would remain. Some people would still choose to abuse drugs rather than live productive, sober lives.

LVTfan

You make some very wise points, and I don't disagree with any of them.

What interested me about the statistics Califano presented was that in this "best of all possible countries" we have so many people experiencing psychic pain that seems to be calling for these so-called recreational drugs. This creates amazing havoc in the lives of many other people, here and elsewhere. So many people in this rather-well-off-on-average country feel the need to self-medicate.

Obviously "on-average" is one part of the story. Averages which include our top 2%/5% are so high as to be irrelevant to most Americans (not irrelevant but clearly out of range) ... compare averages on any measure of wealth or income to the medians for the same measure and you'll find hat 75% to 80% of us are below average -- and across time, that horizon is increasing. Not good.

Also obviously, we all want to avoid pain, and many people live in fear of physical pain, particularly as we age and face diseases of various kinds, sometimes without medical insurance and the assurance of quality healthcare. To the extent that our system helps produce that fear of physical pain rather than alleviate it, we manufacture a demand for drugs which currently can only be obtained through illegal channels.

We can do better, can't we?

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