From today’s WSJ, a quote from law professor Glenn Reynolds that originally appeared on his InstaPundit blog:
“The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits—self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc.—that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.”
MP: Another downside of government subsidies for middle class markers like homeownership and higher education is that those subsidies have distorted those markets and help fuel housing and college tuition bubbles, see chart above.