Long thread
Half a century of US income redistribution.
The best way to study the extent to which social transfer and direct taxes reduce inequality (by targeting those less well-off and taxing the rich) is to compare inequality before transfers and taxes...
(called market income inequality) with inequality after transfers and taxes. The reduction, expressed in Gini points, has become more important in the US going from around 10 Gini points (point 0.1 on the vertical axis) to about 14 points.
It has been less however than German redistribution that shaves off up to 25 Gini points.

There are two problems with this measurement. First, transfers include government pensions (the main transfer item) that can be seen as deferred wages.
Moreover, occupational pensions that are common in the US are left out of redistribution, while state pensions (like in Germany) are included. To correct that, we include both types of pension in market income, and look at the remaining redistribution.
Now redistribution is less in both US and Germany, and the gap between the two is smaller. However, we note that US redistribution has been constant at about 6 Gini points except during the Great Recession when it increased (thanks to unemployment benefits).
Second, constant redistribution may, in effect, be less of a redistribution if the underlying market income inequality has gone up. This has happened in the US. In the 1970s-early 1980s, market inequality (after including pensions in market incomes) was in the low 40s (Gini);
now it is ~48. In the past, transfers and taxes took off 6 Gini points from 40 market Gini points; now, they still take off 6 Gini points but from a *higher* market inequality. Redistribution has become *relatively* weaker & inequality of after-tax income has gone up.

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More from @BrankoMilan

11 Jan
This discussion started several months ago when Twitter labelled Chinese and Russian media "state-affiliated" without doing the same with the state-owned BBC, DW, VoA etc. It absolutely made no sense except if you take it that Twitter is an arbiter of truth.
Moreover even if Twitter labelled all state-owned media the same, it would be still wrong because it would presume that privately-owned media (say, WaPo owned by Bezos or Bloomberg owned by Bloomberg) are somehow "objective", "truthful".
So, if consistent, you would have to label them too: "billionaire-affiliated media".
And then you would continue with other media until every tweet would be labelled.
Read 4 tweets
7 Jan
Just a few simple things to do:
1. Fix the health system
2. Improve public education
3. Tax private university endowments
4. Invest in infrastructure
5. Reduce carbon emissions
6. Increase taxes on the top one-third of tax payers
7. Increase inheritance tax
8. Equalize tax on K and L
9. New anti-monopoly legislation & break-ups
10. Reinforce pro trade union legislation
11. Eliminate ad hoc tariffs on Chinese goods
12. Reverse Citizens United
13. Severely limit the power of lobbyists/donors
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
2021 is the centennial of practically all Communist parties. Here are the reviews of two books on the parties (Yugoslav & Chinese) that came to power in similar circumstances.
Both books are excellent, and thanks to Amazon (a very capitalist enterprise) can be readily bought.
Communist party in a turbulent time and difficult country
by Ivan Avakumovic
Memoir of a Chinese revolutionary
by Wang fan-hsi
Avakumovic is a standard history book that deals with many less well-known aspects of inter-war activities of KPJ incl. its relationship w/ the Comintern and Ustasa (Croat Fascist) movement.
Read 4 tweets
1 Jan
From a Chinese independent video covering the Ant (Ali Baba) case (excerpts from 快看資訊). A very strong text.

If the unhealthy development of business enters a stage of monopoly, it will unconsciously devour all societal resources and cannot help make a quick buck from usury.
For example, in the United States, high-quality education and medical care are only provided to the elite, the bottom has sank further, and social strata solidify...The 40 years since China's “Reform and Opening Up” have completed 200-300 years of capitalist countries development
[But] 1,200 families in China now control 4,000 listed companies. This reflects a problem; China's wealth [inequality] is going to extremes. However, China is a socialist market economy and pursues common prosperity.
Read 8 tweets
31 Dec 20
My book reviews in 2020.
(long thread)
Marx's biography, vol. 1 by Michael Heinrich (excellent)
The Makioka Sisters, by J. Tanizaki (excellent)
The Meritocracy Trap by D Markovits (excellent)
Out of Italy, by F Braudel (very good)
China's Gilded Age, by Yuan Yuan Ang (excellent)
Hitler's biography by Ian Kershaw (excellent)
Read 6 tweets
31 Dec 20
For entertaining and enlightenment, here are some of my debates in 2020.
Is middle class stagnation a myth (with Donald Boudreaux)
On covid deaths, with @tylercowen
Willing meaningful deaths and unwilling meaningless deaths
On Trump, with extremist bi-coastal liberals, and neoliberals
What we owe to Donald J Trump
Trump as the ultimate triumph of neoliberalism
Read 7 tweets

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