I work at a public university, and about 10 years ago, it occurred to me that, as American workers were losing pensions and health care, they were going to look le and less favorably on having to support my health care and pension. And in 2010, that came to pass.
As I approach retirement, I’ve been thinking about my children’s retirement prospects 35 year hence. And of course, when we look beyond our families, we see a striking generational divide in the prospects of acquiring wealth.
Now comes the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, asking the musical question, “Are We All Rent-Seeking Investors?” I think the “we” in this question are the baby-boomers, which I’m at the tail end of.
The article suggests that as the American economy becomes less competitive, there is less need to invest in competitiveness. Instead, money is going to the financial sector. And, of course, among the biggest investors are pension funds, which, I suspect, are mainly serving the over 50 crowd. Or, as the Stigler Center puts it more elegantly, “are we facing an economic model in which tens of millions of Americans’ pensions are relying on the ability of companies to extract rents from consumers and taxpayers?”
The article is worth a read in a couple of dimensions, but what concerns me most is that, by tolerating income inequality, we are beggaring our children.