Chris Hughes, Mark Zuckerberg’s one-time Harvard roommate, facebook co-founder, and multi-millionaire, suggests addressing income inequality with a $6,000 annual subsidy for workers making less than $50,000 annually. He would pay for this with income taxes on the wealthy. It is an interesting idea, but why should it be necessary, and would it solve the problem? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I would suggest some alternatives for debate:
- Increasing the minimum wage.
- Negative income tax for low income workers.
- Increasing wages for government workers and the large number of workers paid indirectly by government.
- Increasing worker benefits such as medical insurance and child care subsidies.
Perhaps Chris Hughes explains in his book why his idea is necessary and superior to alternative ways to address income inequality; I haven’t read the book. Government policy is greatly responsible for low wages and growing inequality–the recent tax law is an example. A subsidy would carry stigma of “welfare benefit.” Reversing government policy that keeps many workers poor is a better idea, I think.