Will’s excellent column supplies a good opportunity to link again to the paper by George Selgin, Bill Lastrapes, and my colleague Larry White entitled “Has the Fed Been a Failure?” (The answer is yes.) By what logic are humans correctly understood to be unable successfully to centrally plan and arrange the monopoly provision of steel, ink, ball bearings, automobiles, breakfast cereals, cauliflower, catering for weddings, and other goods and services but are able successfully to centrally plan and arrange the monopoly provision of the good “money”? That notion makes no sense whatsoever.
Whether the explanation for improvement in living standards lies in redistribution policies and the growth of the safety net, or technological improvements that allowed prices of electronics and other durable goods to drop, or real improvements in productivity and wages, the bottom line is: people are better off today than they were twenty or thirty years ago. Households are consuming more and the typical low income household possesses many more appliances and gadgets that have traditionally been considered the preserve of the rich, than at any time in history. Judging by these criteria, inequality is much less of a predicament than most politicians would have you believe.
Do we need a new constitutional convention? (HT Walter Grinder)