Educate our way out of poverty

Not.

Let’s consider Paul Krugman’s arguments in today’s New York Times column. I’ll sneak in a quote:

Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.

The ubiquitous and fabulously wealthy Mr. Gates believes that the solution to most any problem is found in educational reform. And for him that means collecting tons of data to evaluate the performance of everyone. You’re only a number away from success, I suppose.

Mr. Krugman dissents, arguing that righting employment ills has everything to do with who wields power. As I wrote previously, it is the extractors of wealth who have rigged the system for their own benefit and to the detriment of the Rest of Us. They have power. We don’t.

And speaking of numbers, it seems to me that the only way for the Rest of Us to create an economy as if people mattered is wield the greater political force, which essentially means outvoting the rich and powerful. Revolutions are too messy and unpredictable.

Krugman offers some suggestions:

As for wages and salaries, never mind college degrees — all the big gains are going to a tiny group of individuals holding strategic positions in corporate suites or astride the crossroads of finance. Rising inequality isn’t about who has the knowledge; it’s about who has the power.

Now, there’s a lot we could do to redress this inequality of power. We could levy higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy, and invest the proceeds in programs that help working families. We could raise the minimum wage and make it easier for workers to organize. It’s not hard to imagine a truly serious effort to make America less unequal.

Let us begin.