Ask Josh Barro Anything: Caring About Inequality

Josh explains why conservatives need to pay attention to income equality:

Back in November, we looked at Josh’s insistence that the GOP consider some kinds of redistribution to help deal with inequality. Here are some of his additional suggestions from that post:

[Republicans] can take up the cause of cost control in health care and higher education, the effect of which would be to raise real incomes for the middle class. The rising cost of health benefits has been a key driver of middle-class wage stagnation. Unfortunately, many of the policies actually likely to control costs in these sectors are interventionist in a way that makes conservatives recoil.

Another possibility is greater high-skill immigration. Globalization has been disproportionately beneficial to high-skill workers in developed nations: they have seen the prices of products fall as manufacturing shifts to low-wage countries, but their own jobs are insulated from foreign competition. Letting in more foreign doctors and engineers should drive down wages in skilled professions and the cost of the services those professionals provide, raising real incomes for lower-income workers who already face wage competition from other countries. Reducing occupational licensing requirements would similarly raise real incomes.

Recent Dish on inequality here, here and here.

Josh Barro is currently the Politics Editor at Business Insider. He has previously written for Bloomberg View, and before that was a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Previous Dish on Chait’s recent profile of Barro here and here. Our Ask Anything archive is here.