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The Opportunity Society

We're going to hear a lot from politicians in the next year about "the opportunity society" and giving people opportunities to improve their lot in life. Everybody seems to be in agreement about the desirability of an opportunity society, but they disagree completely about what that means: the opportunity for poor people to get richer, or the opportunity for rich people to get richer.

Obviously, Republicans are more concerned with the latter, whether because they don't care what happens to poor people, or (more charitably) because they honestly believe the barriers to rich people getting richer (income tax rates, capital gains tax rates, business regulation, campaign finance regulation, the ability to find and hire employees, upper bounds on executive compensation, etc.) are the same as the barriers to poor people getting richer (access to child care, access to health care, access to transportation, access to housing, the ability to find and keep a job, lower bounds on hourly-worker compensation, etc.)