Peter, Paul, and Redistribution
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After many commentators and business analysts concluded that the rapidly falling stock market was a vote of "no confidence" in his economic policies, President Obama yesterday said paying too close attention to Wall Street's "fits and starts" could lead to bad long-term policy. Obama said he is not measuring policies against "the day-to-day gyrations of the stock market," but by whether lending is flowing more freely, businesses are investing, and the unemployed are going back to work.
Those are three good measures to be sure, but as Dr. Marty Regalia explained last week in a briefing to reporters, truly long-term thinking requires addressing productivity growth as well as the distributions of income and wealth. Regalia also explains that trying to address these issues through the tax code will be unsuccessful -- robbing Peter to pay Paul doesn’t make Peter happy, and in the end doesn’t help Paul.