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Taking Stock of Robert Reich

Here’s a letter to the producer of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”:

Producer, Morning Joe

Dear Sir or Madam:

On yesterday’s show Robert Reich proclaimed that “we really do have to spread, seriously, ownership because if most of the gains are coming from stock-rate gains, the whole country ought to be part of that.”

One would think that a former U.S. Secretary of Labor would have heard of the institution called “the stock market.”  Anyone can buy shares of corporate stock there.  The existence of this market and the ready access to it promoted by companies such as Fidelity and eTrade mean that no government action is necessary to enable Americans – even those of modest means – “to be part of” the group of people who own corporate stocks.  Becoming “part of” that group is easy and inexpensive, as a perusal of, say, eTrade‘s website will make plain.  Therefore, the typical American who is today not “part of” the stock market is someone who chooses not to be part of it.  That’s a choice that, unlike Prof. Reich, I respect and have no wish to use government to override.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030​​​

(HT to my colleague Walter Williams for drawing my attention to Reich’s appearance yesterday on Morning Joe.)