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MAKING AMERICA WORK: ALFRED P. MURRAH PROFESSORSHIP INAUGURAL LECTURE* - page 1 / 20

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MAKING AMERICA WORK: ALFRED P. MURRAH PROFESSORSHIP INAUGURAL LECTURE*

JONATHAN BARRY FORMAN**

Table of Contents

  • I.

    The Role of Government. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • A.

      Measuring the Impact of Government on the Distribution of Economic Resources. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • B.

      Why Is There So Much Inequality?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

      • 1.

        Earnings Inequality. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

      • 2.

        Inequality in the Distribution of Investment Income.. . . . . . . . . . .

    • C.

      What Should the Government Do?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • II.

    Recent Policy Trends Encouraging Work.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • III.

    The Need for Further Reform. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • A.

      Increase the Economic Rewards for Low-Skilled Workers. . . . . . . .

    • B.

      Keep Effective Tax Rates on Earned Income Low.. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • IV.

    Some Specific Recommendations.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • A.

      Making Taxes Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • B.

      Making Welfare Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • C.

      Modestly Raise the Minimum Wage and Index It for Inflation. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    • D.

      A Two-Tiered Social Security System.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • V.

    Conclusion.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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It is a privilege to be here today to share my thoughts on Making America Work. It is truly an honor to hold the Alfred P. Murrah Professorship at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. In this position, I follow in the footsteps of my esteemed colleague, Leo H. Whinery, Professor of Law Emeritus, renowned expert on the law of evidence, and horseman

  • *

    This article is based on Jonathan Barry Forman’s Alfred P. Murrah Professorship

Inaugural Lecture, delivered on October 24, 2006, as part of the Coats Hall Endowed Professorship Lecture Series at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. The lecture draws from JONATHAN BARRY FORMAN, MAKING AMERICA WORK (2006). Portions are reprinted by permission of the Urban Institute Press, 2100 M Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037. This lecture is only sparingly footnoted, and interested readers should look in that book for the detailed citations of authority.

** Alfred P. Murrah Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma; B.A. 1973, Northwestern University; M.A. (Psychology) 1975, University of Iowa; J.D. 1978, University of Michigan; M.A. (Economics) 1983, George Washington University; Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System.

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