What's Luck Got to Do with It?
How Smarter Government Can Rescue the American Dream
Edward D. Kleinbard
Reviews and Awards
"What's Luck Got to Do with It? intelligently and accessibly argues for the government's proper role in addressing the effects of brute luck as an obstacle to equality of opportunity. Combining insights from economics, philosophy, religion, and psychology, this book brilliantly creates a path to a fairer America." -- Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
"Is what we earn the just desserts of hard work and deferred gratification? Or is it, in large part, the result of existential luck — where, when, and to whom we are born? In this insightful and carefully-crafted book, Kleinbard argues that existential luck is enormously important for explaining the inequities of our society as well as the ideal policy response to such inequities. Policymakers would be wise to heed Kleinbard's clarion call for greater public investments in health care, education, and child care, and to acknowledge the essential importance of insuring Americans against systemic misfortune." -- Lily Batchelder, NYU School of Law, Former National Economic Council Deputy Director
"With a relentless commitment to rigor and clarity, Edward Kleinbard has brought to light the unfairness of the U.S. economy and the unjustified risks that many Americans must bear. This provocative and entertaining book is a fresh look at how to complete America's social contract. Featuring Ed's legendary wit and ability to explain fiscal policy in plain English, this is a must read for anyone interested in greater economic justice." -- Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, co-authors of The Triumph of Injustice
"Edward Kleinbard brilliantly analyzes how luck, good and bad, affect our economic circumstances. He notes that society accepts growing inequality because we too often discount the role of good luck in a person's economic success. Kleinbard applies social insurance principles in developing sweeping policy responses to correct for bad luck. He matches an original assessment of our economic challenges with proven solutions to economic inequality." -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member