Arthur M. Okun: Crumbs for Poverty

Posted by admin on Monday, January 7, 2013

Arthur M. Okun Money Quote saying small amounts of cash spills over to the poor when society is busy sloppily moving large quantities around without thinking of those in need. Arthur M. Okun said:
Society can transport money from rich to poor only in a leaky bucket Quote

“Society can transport money from rich to poor only in a leaky bucket” — Arthur M. Okun


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In this quote, Arthur M. Okun is referring to the challenges and inefficiencies inherent in redistributing wealth from richer members of society to poorer members through government taxation and social programs.

His metaphor of a “leaky bucket” suggests that whenever money is taken from those with more income and assets in order to fund programs and benefits for those with less, a significant portion of those financial resources end up “leaking out” and not making it directly to the intended recipients.

Okun’s point is that there is inevitable loss, waste and leakage involved any time the government intervenes in the free market to try to even out disparities in wealth between socioeconomic groups.

While redistribution aims to help the poor, the “bucket” (the system transporting funds) is imperfect and leaks value to bureaucracy, inefficiency and unintended consequences along the way.


Birthday: March 3, 1928 – Death March 23, 1980

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