Reviews | Should the United States Extend the Social Safety Net?

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Mr. Mankiw said that we would need to raise taxes to have a social safety net comparable to that of Western Europe. We have another option. We can shift our priorities to provide more aid to our people and less aid to powerful corporations.

Jerry wallingford
San Diego

For the publisher:

N. Gregory Mankiw repeats the same tired arguments and darkly alludes to the “risks to economic prosperity” and the dangers of trying to “rebuild the economy”. Above all, he ignores the glaring inequalities of income, wealth and working conditions that exist today in the United States, which makes his call for the supposed compromise between equality and efficiency both sad and irrelevant.

Many of the policies encapsulated in the Biden proposals increase both equality and efficiency, for example by supporting disadvantaged children and others in whom the current economy is underinvesting.

Mr. Mankiw has the same blind spot when comparing GDP per capita in the United States and Europe. When high levels of inequality exist, GDP per capita is an imperfect measure of the well-being of a typical household. How about using other parameters such as life expectancy, access to education, health care coverage? Then the comparison would not be so favorable.

Barbara morgan
Baltimore
The author is a lecturer in economics at Johns Hopkins University.

For the publisher:

N. Gregory Mankiw asserts that Europeans work less than Americans “because they face higher taxes to finance a more generous social safety net”. European residents work less because European Union countries recognize that workers deserve time off work for their families and interests, that workers should not be slaves to their employers, and other reasons based on the recognition that adults are more than workers.

If the Republican Party said “family values” had a real concern for American families, this country would have a law like the European Union, requiring a minimum of four weeks of paid vacation for each worker.

Beverly isenson
Steilacoom, Laver.

For the publisher:

N. Gregory Mankiw, not wanting to sound like a complete lack of compassion towards the less fortunate in his opposition to the democratic reconciliation bill, writes: “This does not mean that the United States has already struck the right balance. between compassion and prosperity. “

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