ON-Lion Letter

"Redistribution is again a major political issue as we head toward the 2016 presidential election," notes Bradley Prize recipient Allan H. Meltzer in a recent article in Defining Ideas, a Hoover Institution journal.

But "Americans did not become wealthy by redistributing income," Meltzer writes.  "They became wealthy by innovating, learning, and working hard.  Most of the immigrants that came were unskilled.  So, too, were the workers who came from the farms to industry.  They began at the bottom, learned by doing on-the-job training, and earned higher wages.  This model seems to be breaking down in our current economic climate."

Meltzer is the Allan H. Meltzer University Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business and a distinguished visiting fellow at Hoover, where The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee supports his work.

"Politicians can promise to narrow the income gap.  They can pass legislation that redistributes more," he concludes.  "But they cannot permanently reduce the spread between the top and the rest unless they adopt policies that encourage growth, innovation, learning, and productivity.  There is no other way."

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