07 August 2012

Mankiw Misidentifies the Moochers

What would happen if economists made the truly banal observation that age, and hence earning power, is unevenly distributed across the U.S. population? Here is economist Nancy Folbre at The New York Times thoroughly deflating the right wing ruminations of Harvard economist Greg Mankiw- who served a tour of duty as Head of Bush #2's Council of Economic Advisers and currently is a Mitt minion - regarding the simply ghastly fact that poor and unemployed are recipients of federal aid.

Folbre does a truly astonishing thing; she actually looks at the numbers and the categories in a sensible way. This allows her to account, for instance, for the wholly unsurprising prevalence of children and the retired in different quartiles of the population. And, unsurprisingly, those quartiles receiving apparently disproportionate amounts of government largesse are disproportionately populated by children and the retired. Can Mankiw really be that dim?

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