This is an extended version of a presentation made at TEDx Livermore 2016, the theme of which was the Economics of Empathy. Searching for Our Fiscal Soul argues that democracy is an exercise in empathy towards fellow citizens we do not know, and, if we did, might not like. We express that empathy through government spending, because that is how we actualize values that are important enough that we are willing to pay for them. This is our fiscal soul in action. Whether measured against the values we all routinely recite, or against the social environments achieved by peer countries, the fiscal soul of the United States is in peril. The remedy lies in understanding the value of a complementary economy, in which government spending is properly reframed as purchasing investments and insurance that private markets do not, and cannot, reach.
Law | Law and Economics | Law and Society | Public Law and Legal Theory | Tax Law
Date of this Version
Edward D. Kleinbard, "Searching for Our Fiscal Soul" (July 2016). University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series. Working Paper 213.