Center on Wealth & Poverty

Who gave us the surplus?

“Since you get blamed for a lot of bad things you didn’t do, you might as well take credit for some of the good things you didn’t do,” is sage political advice. I do not know how much President Clinton and Al Gore were blamed for things they did not do, but their own numbers show they are taking credit Read More ›



The computer age is over. After a cataclysmic global run of thirty years, it has given birth to the age of the telecosm — the world enabled and defined by new communications technology. Chips and software will continue to make great contributions to our lives, but the action is elsewhere. To seek the key to great wealth and to understand Read More ›

Replace Inequity with Genequity

Social Security reform as a political issue was verboten just 10 years ago. No presidential hopeful in his right mind would broach that subject. Now though, the debate is not about whether to reform Social Security, but about how to reform Social Security. Makes you wonder: Just what has happened to finally make discussion of Social Security reform acceptable dinner-table Read More ›

The Bogus Marriage “Bonus”

Earlier this month, President Clinton vetoed legislation to end the marriage penalty in the federal tax code, charging that the Republican-backed bill was “poorly targeted toward delivering marriage penalty relief.” News reports filed by the Associated Press (AP) backed the President’s assertion, claiming that only some married couples in America are penalized by the current tax code. Many other couples, Read More ›

The Gore Tax Burden

Vice President Gore keeps telling us how proud he is that he voted against the Reagan tax rate reductions in 1981. This is a curious boast for a politician to make since, a year after the tax cuts went into effect, inflation and unemployment fell sharply and the economy began to grow very rapidly. Most observers credit the Reagan tax Read More ›

Let’s Rate Their Economic Skill

C-SPAN has just released its rankings of American presidents. Several dozen notable historians and professional observers of the presidency were surveyed and asked to rank the presidents in 10 different categories. Most of the categories are somewhat subjective, such as “moral authority” and “pursued equal justice for all.” One category, however, “economic management,” can be analyzed empirically. Numbers are available Read More ›


The Theology of Welfare

This book explores the theological basis for competing visions of welfare in the religious community by bringing together nationally recognized thinkers representing politically diverse strands of thought in Judaism, Catholicism, mainline Protestantism and evangelical Protestantism. Read More ›

Zero-Sum Folly, From Kyoto to Kosovo

What do the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, the global warming treaty in Kyoto, and the Social Security “crisis” of demand-side Keynesian economics have in common, apart from a convergence of K’s? You can even add Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber. Answer: They all reflect a belief in a zero-sum world. The concept of a zero-sum system originated in a branch of Read More ›

A Species’ Fate, By the Numbers

Population viability analysis (PVA), a favorite approach of conservation biologists for predicting a population's survival, is coming under scrutiny now that its use in critical decisions on endangered species is on the rise. Increasingly, PVAs are being attacked as too simplistic, overly demanding of data, error-prone, and hard to verify. Last month, at the first-ever major conference on the technique, scientists discussed hurdles facing attempts to extend PVA to cover a wider range of species, and how to factor in the behavior of our own species. And one scientist described how he crash-tested PVA models in the lab, a practice that could help ecologists refine the technique. Read More ›

The Soul of Silicon

Published on May 1, 1991, Centesimus Annus returns to the themes of a lapidary encyclical of 100 years before, Rerum Novarum, which refuted Marxism long before it had refracted into a global plague of tyranny and murder. The critique of socialism, however, did not signify an affirmation of capitalism. The `new things’ to which the Pope devoted his attention more Read More ›