Transitioning to BIG+VAT

John Quiggin raises some interesting questions about the BIG+VAT in the comments to the last post: I’m unconvinced by your transition strategy, though of course the nature of a transition strategy depends on the starting point. I don’t see how a ‘small’ [UBI*], say $3000/person/r or $1 trillion per year in the US context let’s… Continue reading Transitioning to BIG+VAT

The Middle Class is Losing the Race for Second Place

I think about inequality a lot. But I also think about the middle class a lot, which isn’t quite the same thing. Generally, my sympathies lie with the “least advantaged” or “subaltern,” but I also feel the pull of the American cultural commitment to the middle class. There can be little doubt that we are… Continue reading The Middle Class is Losing the Race for Second Place

Does Basic Income + VAT “Solve” Immigration?

One of my favorite liberal policies is the basic income proposal. The idea is that all citizens have a basic guaranteed income, below which no one may fall. As the argument goes, this supplies more flexibility than basic provision of essential services, and renders recipients much more autonomous than they currently are, since the government… Continue reading Does Basic Income + VAT “Solve” Immigration?

How Taxation Effects Income Share (Not Much)

Last week, Greg Mankiw posted this graph without comment: I thought there was something weird about the graph, and it’s been nagging at me. For one thing, it compares the bottom four quintiles to the top 5 percent of Americans. For another, it ignores non-federal taxation. (State and local taxes are more difficult to calculate,… Continue reading How Taxation Effects Income Share (Not Much)