Nobel Prize Winner Speaks Gibberish On Inequality

Posted by Bob Lord

Robert Shiller won the Nobel Prize in economics, so he's supposedly no slouch. 

And in a way he gets it on inequality. According to Huffington Post, he believes rising inequality is the most important (economic) problem we face today. 

His thought on how to address inequality, however, is tough to square with that view:

Shiller, an economist famous for having warned about bubbles in technology stocks and housing, said inequality has been worsening for decades. He said he supports having a contingency plan in place now to raise taxes on the rich if inequality gets worse.

Wow! How bold! 

Seriously, how could a Nobel Prize winner be so mealy-mouthed and hopelessly confused. He believes inequality is the worst problem we face (I know, he said "rising inequality" not "inequality," but in this context they're synonymous). He also implicitly understands the connection between tax rates on the rich and inequality. Yet he feels we should not raise taxes on the rich unless and until inequality gets even worse than it is today? Really? 

If raising taxes on the rich would counteract inequality, why does Shiller believe we should wait for the current problem to worsen? Does he believe we can prevent inequality from worsening without raising taxes on the rich? Is he saying we should just live with the inequality we have unless it gets worse? But wouldn't that mean inequality is not yet our most important problem?

Aren't Nobel Prize winners supposed to be clear thinkers?

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