The Distributive Distraction

Source: Bet On It
by Bryan Caplan

“[I]magine that a society faces a menu of possible reforms. The menu features fifty ways to increase equity, and fifty ways to increase growth. Each of these reforms will definitely work if tried, and none of the equity reforms impede growth in the slightest. The catch: To actually adopt a reform requires a massive public debate, followed by a prolonged fight in the legislature. As a result, the society is only capable of implementing one reform per year. In this world, what happens if the dominant party decides to loudly push an equity-based reform? Simple: Although the equity reform, if passed, will do nothing to slow growth, it still crowds out a growth reform. How? By distracting the polity.” (07/26/22)