David Brooks (“America’s inequality problem,” thestate.com, Jan. 18) fails to disentangle individual and societal levels when he accuses others of confusing cause and effect. Of course individuals who quit high school without graduating or who have children without marrying will have a much tougher time, in general, than high school graduates or married parents. Individual choices cause individual problems.
At the societal level, the inequality debate is about implementing policies to help individuals make better choices for themselves and for society. Societal policies should encourage young people to believe that they’ll be able to get jobs when they graduate and that they’ll earn enough from those jobs to marry and have children. In the aggregate, societal policies cause individual choices.