Rajan writes about the one-percent that, for instance, the OWS targets. He comments:
While eliminating inefficient spending, especially inefficient tax subsidies, can generate some of these funds, more tax revenues may be needed. The rich can certainly afford to pay more, but if governments increase taxes on the wealthy, they should do it with the aim of improving opportunities for all, rather than as a punitive measure to rectify an imagined wrong.This is the distinction that the populist leaders and the OWS people do not make--they come across as angry people who want to punish the one-percent and seem to channel the old revolutionary and anarchist argument that all property is theft. As Rajan points out:
It ignores, for example, the fact that many of the truly rich are entrepreneurs. It likewise ignores the fact that many of the wealthy are sports stars and entertainers, and that their ranks include professionals such as doctors, lawyers, consultants, and even some of our favorite progressive economists. In other words, the rich today are more likely to be working than idle.But then such sit-down discussions won't help, right, in the contemporary atmosphere of loud, knee-jerk, talk whether it is from the left or the right!
Full disclosure: I am nowhere near the one-percent :)
As Rajan also notes, education will be key, yes. But, not the kind we do now. In fact, students seem to be systematically avoiding the kind of education that will be needed for our collective prosperity--the sciences. Students avoid the harder subjects and swing to easier majors, like geography (!):
Although the number of college graduates increased about 29% between 2001 and 2009, the number graduating with engineering degrees only increased 19%, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Dept. of Education. The number with computer and information-sciences degrees decreased 14%.And then we import students into these very fields! (not that I am complaining about that in particular.) One of the many reasons why students avoid these potentially remunerative fields:
Science classes may also require more time—something U.S. college students may not be willing to commit. In a recent study, sociologists Richard Arum of New York University and Josipa Roksa of the University of Virginia found that the average U.S. student in their sample spent only about 12 to 13 hours a week studying, about half the time spent by students in 1960. They found that math and science—though not engineering—students study on average about three hours more per week than their non-science-major counterparts.The more I think about all these, the more I wonder why I even bother to get all worked up about these issues.
Instead, I can go about my life disconnected from these, show up at my classes, grade their work, collect my paycheck and say thanks.
Naaaaah ... that ain't me!