Remember, America: Inheritance leads to princes, serfs, and not much else

Despite what Greg Mankiw says, inherited wealth isn't good for the economy

Gentry
(Image credit: (Gianni Dagli Orti/Corbis))

Harvard economist Greg Mankiw argues in a New York Times editorial that inherited wealth is helpful to the economy. But even a brief look at the evidence shows his claims don't stack up.

Greg Mankiw — most famous for his widely used undergraduate economics textbook and for being an adviser to both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney — has made a name for himself in recent years as a defender of economic and social inequality. Last year he wrote a paper entitled "Defending the One Percent," arguing for the "just deserts" view — that what people earn is what they deserve, and therefore government should not actively try to reduce the gap between the incomes of the richest and poorest.

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