Anyone who has ever been in a Third World country, or even in a slum neighborhood at home, is likely to wonder why there can be such dire poverty among some people, while others are prospering.
One of the ways of trying to reduce the vast disparities in economic success, which are common in countries around the world, is by making higher education more widely available, even for people without the money to pay for it.
Item: A Chinese woman studying at Hays State University in Kansas tried to board a plane with a stun gun in her purse. The TSA called the cops to arrest her. She later told the AP she hopes to “resolve” the incident with a fine.
Last week, President Barack Obama, at a Capital Hilton fundraising event, told the crowd, "We can't go back to this brand of you're-on-your-own economics." Throughout my professional career as an economist, I've never come across the theory of "you're-on-your-own economics." I'm guessing what the President means by — and finds offensive in — "you're-on-your-own economics" is that it's a system in which people are held responsible for their actions, that they take risks and must live with the results, that people can't force others to pay for their mistakes, and that they can't live at the expense of other people.
With all the talk about "disparities" in innumerable contexts, there is one very important disparity that gets remarkably little attention — disparities in the ability to create wealth. People who are preoccupied, or even obsessed, with disparities in income are seldom interested much, or at all, in the disparities in the ability to create wealth, which are often the reasons for the disparities in income.