Epstein on economic inequality in America

Friday, October 28, 2011
Hoover senior fellow Richard Epstein discusses economic inequality in America
Hoover senior fellow Richard Epstein discusses economic inequality in America

Richard Epstein, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law at New York University Law School, discussed economic inequality with PBS news correspondent Paul Solmen in Making Sense. In Epstein’s view, inequality in a free market system may be an incentive for people to create wealth. “If in fact it turns out that inequality creates an incentive for people to produce and create wealth, it’s a wonderful force for innovation,” Epstein states.

He notes that in a system where equality is emphasized and no one is rewarded for innovation and risk taking, the poor suffer more. He explains how innovators such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs contributed to consumer wealth and enhanced the lives of many people. Epstein also discusses marginal tax rates, the estate tax, and incentives. Near the end of the interview Epstein strengthens his argument by quoting Abraham Lincoln, “You do not make the poor richer by making the rich poorer.”

Click here to view the interview.