Among economists, one of the most talked about books of the past year has been The Race Between Education and Technology . This blandly named, data-rich book by Harvard economists Claudia Goldwin and Larry Katz makes a striking argument: income inequality is rising not because of immigration or the decline in unionization but rather because the supply of educated workers has been stagnant since the 1970s. This is obviously bad news, but it comes with a silver lining. This is a problem policy-makers can address. It just takes money. Unfortunately, money is precisely what the states don't have.
This morning, the New York Times reported that the California State University system is planning to cut enrollment by 10,000. For anyone who cares about income inequality -- or just plain income -- that's terrible news. Maintaining -- or boosting -- university enrollments would be a worthy part of a state bailout package. State universities, tell those lobbying shops to start contacting the Obama transition team. This is one issue where self-interest and good policy line up. -- John Buntin