David R. Henderson  

David Cay Johnston's Confusion

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"Inequality Damages Marriage" is the title of a recent article by David Cay Johnston. But his article shows no such thing.

Regular readers of my posts know that I never blame an author for the title of an article run by a newspaper, magazine, or web site. We authors rarely get to choose. In the 44 articles or book reviews I've written for the Wall Street Journal, for example [I recently counted them when I updated my CV], my suggested title was used exactly zero times.

But whether or not he chose the title, the title does accurately reflect the author's thesis. Moreover, in a tweet Johnston, although he misspells inequality, repeats the publisher's title with no hedges.

But what Johnston shows, at most, is that poverty and low income damage marriage. Even there, I'm skeptical because two people with low income who got married would, if they were both earning income, automatically create a higher-income family than either of them had. In other words, marriage is, and has been, a way to get out of poverty.

But my more important point, given how common the confusion is, is that it's important not to confuse poverty and income inequality. If everyone's real income doubled, there would be less poverty and fewer people with lower income. But if income inequality were measured the standard way, there would be no change in income inequality.

If the income of the people at the bottom doubled and the income of the people at the top tripled, there would be less poverty--and more inequality.

Johnston shows no awareness of these basic statistical facts.

Is someone near the bottom whose income rises a lot hurt because Paul Krugman's income increased by an even higher percent? It's hard to see why.


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CATEGORIES: Income Distribution




COMMENTS (23 to date)
Bostonian writes:

"Even there, I'm skeptical because two people with low income who got married would, if they were both earning income, automatically create a higher-income family than either of them had."

It is cheaper for two people to maintain one residence rather than two, but the stigma against cohabitation is long gone, so I wonder why David Henderson thinks marriage creates a higher-income family.

magilson writes:
It is cheaper for two people to maintain one residence rather than two, but the stigma against cohabitation is long gone, so I wonder why David Henderson thinks marriage creates a higher-income family. - Bostonian

Likewise, I have a surprising number of married friends who still operate on separate budgets which, from outside appearances, seems to gain some of the efficiency of co-habitation but it also shows strong signs of inefficiency compared to truly combined income budgeting. The financial gains from marriage come from accepting the older norms of marriage rather than marriage as a legal concept, I would guess.

roystgnr writes:
Is someone near the bottom whose income rises a lot hurt because Paul Krugman's income increased by an even higher percent? It's hard to see why.

No hypotheses come to mind? There is one aspect of human life where relative rather than absolute status is all that matters, and romance is it. Even if your spouse wouldn't think of leaving you for a higher earner, their increased envy and dissatisfaction from knowing how much farther you fell short of what was possible may still help poison your marriage.

The solution would seem to be "everybody should stop being envious", but human nature is hard to tinker with and modern culture seems downright counterproductive in this case.

David R. Henderson writes:

@Bostonian,
It is cheaper for two people to maintain one residence rather than two, but the stigma against cohabitation is long gone, so I wonder why David Henderson thinks marriage creates a higher-income family.
The narrow answer is based on the way family is defined. The broader answer is that I’m assuming that marriage shows more of a long-term commitment and I’m writing about what happens over time and not just at a point in time.

Tom West writes:

The solution would seem to be "everybody should stop being envious", but human nature is hard to tinker with and modern culture seems downright counterproductive in this case.

Except that it's not just envy of the poor. It's also built into humans that the farther down the scale a human being is from you, the less worthy they are.

If the relative difference is sufficiently large, the poor are barely even human.

Humans intrinsically understand that people are worth what we pay them. We understand that their wealth, relative to our own, represents their value as a human being, and thus their worthiness of protection by society.

Of course, this is an overstatement for effect, but the effect is quite, quite real.

Hit developing nations and the sentiment is often barely disguised, especially the "if you're paying the workers dirt, then they can't be any good" attitude, and the converse. Talk about the expensive bottle of wine tasting better!

So, to the original point. Krugman earning more *does* decrease the respect that society pays you, and it's not surprising that potential spouses recognize this fact.

MikeDC writes:

I gave up after the first few paragraphs of the Al-Jazeera article. It's unreasonably awful.

Even if your spouse wouldn't think of leaving you for a higher earner, their increased envy and dissatisfaction from knowing how much farther you fell short of what was possible may still help poison your marriage.

Logically, if people feel as you propose, increased inequality would lead to stronger marriages. That's because increased inequality reduces the apparent possibility that the envious spouse could have done better.

The simple model of inequality is that we have a lot of LOSERS with low income, and then a sprinkling of high income WINNERS. If it means anything, Increasing inequality means more losers and fewer winners.

Suppose a world with relative equality and 10 potential spouses to chose from; 3 LOSERS, 2 WINNERS, and 5 MIDDLINGS. Under your theory, the spouse of a LOSER could reasonably say "I could have done better". To put it another way, they could divorce LOSER and of the remaining 9 potentials, have a 78% chance of getting a higher income spouse.

Now suppose a world with great inequality. There are 9 LOSERS and 1 WINNER to pick from. In this case, the possibility of picking a winner is much smaller at the outset (10%), and your chance of getting a higher income spouse after leaving your current LOSER is only (11%).

Thus, in the literal sense as put forth by this stupid headline, inequality would actually cement marriages because it lets everyone know, in uncertain terms, that almost everyone is a LOSER and there's little chance that you or your partner could have done better.

David Cay Johnston writes:

David Henderson,

Errors, misconceptions and other problems afflict your post.

First, I approved this headline, though you are correct that writers “rarely get to choose” headlines.

Second, you write that I “confuse poverty and income inequality.” No I don’t and never have. Try reading these words, published last month:

“Inequality is not synonymous with poverty. Inequality is about the distribution of resources.” http://bit.ly/15OXBj2

Long before anyone heard of Thomas Piketty or others currently in the news, I was documenting our rising inequality from the public record. My extensive and detailed analysis of the official data included exposing hidden government policies that take from the many and redistribute up. All of this reporting has stood the test of time as the conditions I was first to report have worsened. And that is because my work is solidly grounded in reliable, cited and verifiable facts and my deep understanding of economic theories.

I have studied and written about these issues since 1968, but they have been the focus of my Pulitzer (and many others) Prize winning work only for the last two decades. Your assertion that I conflate or confuse inequality and poverty is provable nonsense.

You write that what I show “at most, is that poverty and low income damage marriage.” I did not make such an argument.

Your line is also static, lacking historical concept (plenty of poor people are well married now and throughout history). You cite zero evidence that poverty per se damages marriage, but if you can back that up that I would be interested in seeing the data so I can determine whether I should revise my understanding of the facts.

What your position ignores is that I wrote about diverging trend lines. How do you explain those?

What I showed, citing work by two well respected full professors of law with endowed chairs who have sterling reputations and a highly respected publisher (Oxford University Press) is quite distinct from your off-point comments.

My column (not article) was about how rising inequality is affecting the marriage market-- the propensities for marriage and divorce, for marital and non-marital births and then the concomitant changes in child rearing by income and education level.

Marriage is on the rise as you go up the income and education ladders, on the decline as you go down.

The data shows an overall decline in divorce rates, but that overall average masks a disturbing reality. Marriage is becoming more durable among better-educated and higher income Americans and much less so among those in the bottom 30 percent, where divorce rates are rising.

I cite evidence that the rise in non-marital births is primarily a story of white working class women with high school educations. And I carefully note that the increase is not among teen-age girls, but women in their 20s, emphasizing its significance in understanding the data in terms of markets for mates and increased inequality over long periods of time.

White working class women were the most likely to be married a half century ago, today it is college educated women who are most likely to be wed. And I cited a telling detail about a significant change in marriage patterns of college-educated women born in 1957 compared to their sisters born seven years earlier.

Yet you ignore this entirely. All of it.

Instead of addressing these facts, you go off on a tangent, constructing a straw man as you go.

You wrote “if the income of the people at the bottom doubled and the income of the people at the top tripled, there would be less poverty--and more inequality. Johnston shows no awareness of these basic statistical facts.”

I am intimately familiar with the math, statistics and the concept. While your math is correct, there is exactly zero evidence of rising incomes for the vast majority. That's your straw man.

Inequality is not increasing because, as you imply, all incomes are on the rise and the spread is growing.

One of my standard public lectures is about this very point and includes a series of PowerPoint slides to show how your scenario was reality in 1950-1975. In my lectures I describe the results in that era as generally good all around, contrary to the implicit criticism in your post.

My column doesn't go into what you focus on because what you wrote ignores the issues I addressed and conjures up a different issue.

My column was about how the government rules that drive inequality are taking a toll on marriage and how “those in the market adapt.”

Moebius Street writes:

Mr. Johnston, I'm confused as to why you're arguing. you said yourself:

Marriage is on the rise as you go up the income and education ladders, on the decline as you go down.

...Marriage is becoming more durable among better-educated and higher income Americans and much less so among those in the bottom 30 percent, where divorce rates are rising.


This seems to be pretty much what our host Mr. Henderson said in his post.
Floccina writes:

It seems clear to me that people are much more likely to be single today because we are richer, especially females, and so many think that they are better off single than with one of the people that would be willing to be their spouse. Rather than inequality I think it is wealth that has undermined marriage in recent years.

Kevin Erdmann writes:

David Cay Johnston,

Here is a section which seems to match David Henderson's criticism:

In 1970 mothers with a high school education and those with a college degree spent roughly equal amounts of time each day with their infants. These days, however, more-affluent mothers spend on average an hour a day more parenting newborns.
Concerns about this problem are reinforced by efforts to cut taxpayer investments in children, especially poor children, on the theory that this is not a social responsibility but a duty of those who become parents.
For example, Head Start, which provides early child education and support for low-income families, is a smart investment, according to a new economic study. But the federal program continues to face attacks from conservatives.

By substituting inequality for poverty, your prose gives a false impression. Data from the Brookings Institution shows that in 1975, parents spent about 20 minutes a day with kids, regardless of education. Today, parents with HS or less spend about 55 minutes a day and BA or higher spend a little more than 90 minutes a day. So, your statement is technically true, but gives a false impression. The more direct fact would be to compare HS educated parents in 1970 to HS educated parents today. But, that would show a great increase in the time they spend with their kids.

Then, you reinforce this notion of increasingly stressed working class families by discussing Head Start. Your position appears to be that a program that is much more extensive today than it was in 1970 nevertheless adds stress to working families, relative to 1970, because there is public debate about its effectiveness.

I doubt that anyone reading your article would come away with the impression that HS educated families spend much more time with their children and have access to more social services than they did in 1970.

David Cay Johnston writes:

The comments here by several people astound as they are as far from the mark as Mr. Henderson’s.

Two commentators write about leaving one’s spouse for a better earning spouse have no idea what my column says or what the book I relied on shows.

Floccina sort of gets it, but her reply makes clear she did not read my column. Among the bottom 30 percent there is no wealth so it can hardly be a factor, as she asserts. But her point about women relying more on themselves is expressly stated in my column and is explained. She seems to be telling us what she imagines, not what I wrote about.

Kevin Erdman focuses on a digression at the end of my column referring to Head Start to assert that I made a technically true, but ultimately misleading, argument because data he cites ”show a great increase in the time they spend with their kids.”

But click on Erdman’s link and it turns out that is not what the cited data show at all. The caption is a red flagged following through to the underlying data shows why -- and that Erdman is not even technically correct. Reading with care and looking for qualifiers is important, but Erdman evidently did not take such care.

What the data show includes more time spent ferrying children to childcare (much more common now than decades ago) and other secondary factors.

The researchers expressly warn against comparing the two time periods. “Unfortunately, the secondary childcare estimates are not comparable over time…” because of differences, and flaws, in survey designs.

The reseachers state that comparisons can only by made WITHIN each period. Then they add caveats, including:

“…some researchers argue that high estimates of childcare time in the 2003-10 survey might partially be a data artifact” due to self-reporting bias to meet social norms.
the increases appear to be the result of “secondary childcare, which includes activities in which the primary activity was something else but the person was also ultimately responsible for the children. Examples of secondary childcare include: doing housework while the children play in another room or going grocery shopping with your children.”

So no, Mr. Erdman, there is no big rise in parenting time unless you want to count driving sleepy tykes to day care before dawn, traffic jams and other such secondary factors. But even then the data are just not comparable.

Given the huge increase in the number of mothers working now -- well documented because of payroll records -- your assertion would not logically follow, either.

Again, what I wrote about is how, as income inequality has increased, the data show diverging trend lines with more durable marriages up the income and education ladders and less durable (or even initiated) marriages as you go down. These are the issues Henderson totally ignores in making his demonstrably false assertion that I conflate poverty and inequality (see link in first reply above).

Colin Barnard writes:

I think the real error by David Cay Johnston is that he confuses correlation for causation.

He's proven that people who make bad decisions (women who have children out of wedlock, or men who marry women they will later divorce or ...) are the same people who make other types of bad economic decisions ( dropping out of school, choosing low paying careers...).


This wouldn't cause the change over time that he witnessed, except for the changes in the labor market over the same time period. Job pay in jobs requiring high intelligence has increased, and jobs in manufacturing have either disappeared or pay less.

This explanation also has the benefit of explaining why wealthier marriages have strengthened over this time period.

What we are seeing is market pay being more strongly correlated to decision making ability. I'm no expert to all the contributing factors to decision making ability, but I'm guessing intelligence and the ability to delay gratification are two important factors.

Kevin Erdmann writes:

This reminds me of a Scott Anderson link that I think I recently saw here at econlog. His point in that post was that while we try to utilize scientific authority to back our arguments, in the end, it seems to always come down to personal judgment anyway.

The source of information for my link appears to go back to this paper - specifically the charts on page 10 and notes 4 and 5, which Mr. Johnston points to.

Mr. Johnston is entirely writing off a tripling to quintupling of parental attention with some debated caveats in a footnote, because of some minor methodological changes in a survey. At the same time, he broadly characterizes the potential increase with "there is no big rise in parenting time unless you want to count driving sleepy tykes to day care before dawn, traffic jams and other such secondary factors".

It seems to me that Mr. Johnston's discretion is carrying a lot of water here. And, I think that is one problem with substituting inequality for poverty. It brings in a lot of potential for discretion.

I'm sure Mr. Johnston feels strongly about the objectivity of his discretion, but if we went item by item into the weeds on issues with his article, discretion is where we would keep getting tangled up. I don't know a way around that. Our observation of what the facts are, especially on topics like this, ends up being greatly defined by our discretion itself. Then we scoff at opponents because they can't even get the facts right, with the result that we become even more obstinate about our discretion, since those that question it are clearly not capable of dealing with reality and aren't worth the effort.

I feel that way sometimes, so if my critique about Mr. Johnston is correct, it is at least as correct about myself.

Almost inevitably, the things we feel most strongly about will be the things we are most wrong about. And, thus it will always be, as far as I can tell...at least until the singularity makes our monkey brains obsolete.

Kevin Erdmann writes:

David Cay Johnston,

I hope that referring to you in the third person in the previous comment doesn't appear to be rude. The comment just ended up feeling more natural that way, as I was thinking about things more generally.

David Cay Johnston writes:

Mr. Erdmann,

No offense. I am glad you wrote your post.

You are quite right that all human beings tend to cling to what they see as true from their point of view.

Do, however, take note that above I specifically asked for data to the contrary so that, if the facts warrant, I could adjust my view.

I work very hard to make sure how I explain the world to my readers adapts to new or changed facts and my clips reflect this, as does my earlier post here. Indeed, others have criticized me saying “you wrote X in in YEARTK and are now arguing Y.” That happens when either the facts changed or my understanding of them changes.

You certainly cannot rely on their data to make your case about increased parenting time since the scholars on whose graphic summary you rely expressly state that you cannot compare the two periods. Do you have any data that supports what you assert?

As to the underlying data, the disclaimers and caveats are quite strong, though you suggest otherwise.

And, again, I will ask this: how could we possibly have more time spent with children now given the rise in working hours by mothers in the last four decades plus? From reductions what other activities would that increase have come?

A few years ago, for one of my best selling books on little known anti-market aspects of the economy, I analyzed hours-worked data from multiple sources. I reported that mothers of children under age 5 or 6 increased from decades ago to the early 2000s by about 900 hours per year, citing research by Juliet Schor. Others did similar analysis using other data sources and came to similar conclusions. As I recall, I characterized this as mothers of small children, on average, working full-time from January through May and then doing part-time work for the rest of the year at whatever the old rate was (memory says an average of a few hundred hours more paid work outside the home).

So, Mr. Erdmann, can you point to any set of facts that disprove or call into question what is reported in the book Marriage Markets or the specifics I distilled from it for my column?

All of this, though, is subordinate to Mr. Henderson’s assertion that that my column (not article) does not show that inequality damages marriage. He says my column “shows no such thing.”

Instead of addressing this by offering an alternative explanation for the diverging trends, Mr. Henderson ignores the specific cited facts. He manufactured a straw man argument, which I showed in my first post is false. He has not corrected his egregious error.

I have never suggested one cannot interpret the data I cited differently. But I have been quite clear that Mr. Henderson has offered exactly zero facts in support of his bold and unqualified post.

Mr. Henderson has made no showing that the authors of Marriage Markets are wrong or that I lacked fidelity to their findings. (The authors have informed me, and the world, that they are delighted with my summary of their work.)

Mr. Henderson’s burden, given the unqualified assertions in his first two sentences, is to show that inequality is having NO effect on marriage.

If Mr. Henderson has facts showing I am in error I want to see them so I can determine if my writing warrants his opprobrium and a corrective column.

My primary complaint is about Mr. Henderson’s baseless “confusion” statement, followed by his ignoring facts and his unsupported assertions.

Mr. Henderson should do what honorable people do: either show us a set of facts that establish there is zero connection between increased inequality and marriage formations, dissolutions and care of small children (the standard he set for himself) or acknowledge that he erred. It would be useful, of course, if he were to offer an alternative explanation for the data in which increased inequality plays no part.

He certainly needs to acknowledge that he erred in his “confused” assertion, which I showed in my first post above is false.


Kevin Erdmann writes:

Thanks for the response, David.

Poverty rates within family type have declined, but family types that are poor have grown in number. To me, this suggests that causation runs the other way. Switching from poverty to inequality adds more heat than light, since it helps to confuse relative vs. absolute living standards. But, I will let David Henderson speak for himself on those issues.

On the other issues, I read the text and the footnotes as more muddled than you do, regarding the reliability of the data. Others who are interested can go to the paper linked in my previous comment and decide for themselves. I think we are back to discretion on that topic. I admit that I am far from an expert on this topic, so I don't have any expertise about the strength of the citations in the paper, etc.

You say: "And, again, I will ask this: how could we possibly have more time spent with children now given the rise in working hours by mothers in the last four decades plus? From reductions what other activities would that increase have come?"

Less housework for starters. But, your assertion in the column is, more or less, entirely based on the notion that mothers spend more time with their children than they used to. The level of inequality you assert could only be true if college educated mothers are spending much more time with their children than they used to. Educated mothers work at least as much as less educated mothers. So, I think you must pose this question to yourself.

Kevin Erdmann writes:

David Cay Johnston,

I will add that this treatment of time use is a double standard in your presentation of the information.

When comparing current time use to past time use, you say that the current data is inflated and that most of that time is low-quality. I believe it is your position that we can't even say reliably that there has been any increase in parental attention over time. The entire increase is an artifact of the survey. Yet, in the column, it is precisely that data which you use, without caveat, when you say that "more-affluent mothers spend on average an hour a day more parenting newborns". No mention there about the scale being inflated or about your stated belief that most of this time is low-quality.

At the least, if the numbers are inflated and less educated parents are actually spending less quality time with their children than they used to, then the scale of the data is so distorted that the reported extra hour that educated parents spend is surely unreliable.

ZC writes:

@David Cay:

"And, again, I will ask this: how could we possibly have more time spent with children now given the rise in working hours by mothers in the last four decades plus? From reductions what other activities would that increase have come?"

I'll take that hanging curve-ball and hit it out of the park. The average American spends far less time engaged in activities like food preparation and household cleaning and upkeep (from doing dishes to laundry to fixing vehicles or household appliances) today compared to four decades ago. There's your time surplus.

Colin Barnard is right on the money, correlation doesn't imply causation. Poor decision makers make poor decision in all areas of their lives -- no surprise those unsuccessful in other areas of their lives are unsuccessful in marriage. It's practically Darwinian.

Greg G writes:

It is true that most employees tend not to think of increases in the cost of their fringe benefits as an increase in income. If employer spending on those benefits is cut though, they do tend to see that as a pay cut.

We could just sidestep this confusion by simply referring to take home pay or total compensation.

As a former employer, I am inclined to think of income as total compensation including fringe benefits. Employees (and the IRS) tend to define it differently.

Whatever effects the failure of take home pay to rise has on marriage have a lot more to do with the psychology of the typical worker than some technical economics debate.

Dave E writes:

Mr. Johnston wrote: "...for one of my best selling books on little known anti-market aspects of the economy,..." Somehow that sentence made me laugh.

David Cay Johnston writes:

What struck you as funny might make you very angry if you knew how much of the US economy is based on anti-market laws, regulations and practices that tilt the playing field in favor of some businesses and thus against others.

For example, nearly 3,000 large companies keep the state income taxes withheld from their workers' paychecks, giving them a huge advantage over competitors without such deals and shifting tax burdens onto the rest of us. Among them are Goldman Sachs and foreign banks, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford, Continental Tire, GE and News Corp.

The workers are unaware of this because the law treats their taxes as paid when withheld. The employer gets a tax credit equal to those taxes. In many places the size of the tax credit is secret, but we know what the state law provides and can estimate from other disclosures.

In one case this stealth taxpayer subsidy covers 92% of the cost of refurbishing an Ohio factory. If that investment earns the corporation an 8% annual return on the asset it means the company's return on equity is 100% since the profit would equal the portion not paid for by taxpayers.

How would you like to compete against a company that gets that deal while you do not?

And why should we give such subsidies at all?

How about the $1.4 billion in cash -- so far -- given by New York taxpayers to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the hereditary ruler of Abu Dhabi, who basically owns a country and is worth tens of billions of dollars?

The state constitution flatly bans such gifts and voters have reaffirmed that three times since 1846, all by 2-to-1 margins, and yet the state's highest court found a way to render the ban meaningless. Read about that here: http://reut.rs/1lf41Ni

How about Cabela's and Bass Pro, whose expansions are almost entirely funded with stealth tax subsidies? In its first three years as a public company Cabela's signed local government subsidy deals worth a third than its profits for those years. Taxpayers, thus, provided the capital for Cabela's to expand from catalogues to retail stores. (Bass Pro is privately owned.)

Many retailers, including those two, use government's power of eminent domain to take land and then use municipal bonds to finance the land purchase and building costs. I show that "just compensation" in such proceedings has become a synonym for deeply discounted and how government in Toledo drive down property values to cut the costs of acquiring land for the new Jeep factory. A profitable vehicle repair garage was busted this way and the land then used for a lawn for Jeep.

A competitor, GanderMountain, rejects such subsidies and opposes them for any firm.

My book FREE LUNCH shows how these subsidies destroyed one family-owned sporting goods store. The subsidy cost the equal to the city of Hamburg, Pa., buying every family in town a new Honda Accord. The subsidy was pitched as economic development for Hamburg, but it has not helped the locals, it has hurt them.

My trilogy on hidden aspects of the economy -- Perfectly Legal, Free Lunch and The Fine Print -- is rich with examples of other anti-market actions.

Government publishes no statistics on this massive welfare, but the facts can be extracted from the public record through years or diligent digging except in those places where state and local governments claim how your tax dollars are spent is confidential.

At the state and local levels this welfare reached $70 billion in 2010 or $225 per person, Prof. Kenneth Thomas shows in Investment Incentives and the Global Competition for Capital.

To give you a sense of scale, that is $900 for a family of four or close to a week's take home pay at the median. You can learn more in my column "Corporate Socialism Destroys" at http://reut.rs/1iruvqY

My books champion competitive markets and profits earned in the market. They expose faux markets, stealth subsidies, and rules that insulate companies from the rigors of competition.

Profits should come from the competitive market, not little known (and often deeply buried) government deals that tax you to benefit some businesses.

At a website for people who assert their belief in competitive markets I am surprised that the conduct revealed in my books is not a major and ongoing discussion.

David R. Henderson writes:

@David Cay Johnston,
I haven’t read your book, but your cites above suggest that you have done great work in that area. I’m guessing you noticed that I came on as a commenter in response to you on Cafe Hayek and gave you credit there also.
Re what we discuss at Econlog, it’s a target-rich environment. There are so many bad programs to attack and so little time. But I have taken on eminent domain. See this, for example.

David Cay Johnston writes:

David H,

Interesting take on Avatar. In Free Lunch You can read how GWBush's fortune derives almost entirely from a subsidy that began with eminent domain for private benefit, involved a tax increase for private benefit -- and that more than $34 million of the $202 million stealth subsidy was left on the table, raising its own questions about the managerial competence of the general partner (Mr. Bush). The data in my book were all confirmed by the key lawyer in the deal, Ray Hutchison, husband (now late husband) of now former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

The Jeep deal is worse because of efforts to prevent any litigation over the underlying legal issues.

Private use of eminent domain for private gain is increasing, but hardly anyone is paying attention.

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