INTERVIEW: Income Inequality & Social Justice in America

April 09, 2011

Original publication: "To the Point" on KCRW-FM (NPR Los Angeles)

Date of publication: April 8, 2011

In the US, the gap is widening fast between fewer and fewer rich people and everyone else. Do Americans care? 

Columbia professor and Responsible Wealth member Eric Schoenberg joined Warren Olney, host of KCRW Los Angeles' "To the Point," for a conversation about why wealthy and upper-income members of Responsible Wealth support raising taxes on themselves.

Other guests include:

  • Mark Bittman: New York Times 
  • Michael Norton: Harvard Business School 
  • Jason Rink: Foundation for a Free Society 
  • Tom Donlan: Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly 

Download the interview (forward to 18:44 to hear from RW member Eric Schoenberg)


Sounds like a great

Sounds like a great discussion to be having.

Taking Schoenberg to School

I'm really sure where you would need to begin. Your perspective on what should be done to solve our nations fiscal delimna is not pragmatic or logical in anyway. My focus as teacher's assistant, tutor, teacher, trainer and manager has always been to forge a path of least resistance. When a trainer/teacher recognizes that a person is consistantly making the same mistakes they attempt to fine tune that particular inequity in the student/employee. The question is what to do when you find that the same mistake is being made by many people. Do you attempt to help each one or is there another option not being explored. My approach to fix this type of issue is to remove the problem from the equation. Usually there is a way to simplify the action and avoid the hassle all together. I call it stupid proofing and it's quite effective. The easiet and most effective way to insure the least amount of mistakes are made is to make the "correct" or desired way the easiest way. It's not rocket science and you don't need a PHD to understand this. 

In most cases the simplest approach will lso be the most effective. This is the approach we should be using to tackle the nations budget. You of all people should know that due to the way our political system is structured, raising taxes should be the last option. Fifteen years ago cell phones were a luxury few could afford, now everyone has one and couldn't imagine life without one. The government will just find other places to spend the money.

Here are some simple solutions that are practical and provide savings and benifits to other areas as well.

National I.D, VISA, and Immigration identification cards that would be impossible to conterfiet.

This one simple and realitively inexpensive thing would have huge benefits on the costs of security especially in places like the airport. It would allow us to keep better track of people visiting from other countries and help route out the ones that are hiding.

A national sales tax:

We're one of the most visited countries in the world yet nothing foreigners spend goes to social security.

This would provide a means to collect taxes even from people residing here illegally. Before anyone opens their big mouth I have one thing to say. NEW HAMPSHIRE. There are no sales taxes or income taxes in the state of N.H so other than from the property tax which for the most part they wouldn't have to worry about how are they paying?

In my defense I'm sitting 15 feet from the tv while I'm typing this so there will likely be a bunch of spelling errors.