May 19, 2015
commented on Los Angeles Is Raising Its Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour
That wasn't very celebratory. $15 in LA doesn't happen without $15 in Seattle. And $15 in Seattle doesn't happen without The Stranger. If you think about it, LA workers (and restaurateurs) have The Stranger to thank for their new higher minimum wage. So congratulations!
Mar 31, 2015
commented on Young MIT Economist Argues that NIMBYism and not Financial Assets Is the Source of Inequality
I actually think that folks are focusing on the wrong part of Rognlie's paper. Housing and financial capital are convertible. Global financial capital is pouring into real estate. Even hedge funds are investing in it. And you don't get hundreds of $20 million plus condos in Manhattan without yawning income inequality.
The real heart of Rognlie's argument is that Piketty is wrong in asserting that inequality is growing because R > G, but Piketty doesn't actually assert that. Piketty himself argues that the main driver of income inequality right now is increasingly unequal labor income rather than a rising capital share. Rather, he argues that a rising capital share could greatly increase inequality IN THE FUTURE. He says growth will be slow in the future, we will have more capital per worker (which is already true, even for non-housing capital), and that the rate of return won’t go down (continued measures to suppress labor as well as growing developing countries can do this). The best way to think about Piketty is that he lays out a prediction for how inequality can increase in the future (strongly supported by how R > G increased inequality in the past) and the Rognlie paper shows that the future has not yet arrived. But the future can still come!