Reviving the American Dream with ‘Purple Policies’

Harvard professor explains how we can revitalize the American Dream

In hopes of reviving those positive trends, Putnam proposed what he calls “purple policies,” which combine conservative and liberal ideas. With the goal of reviving equal opportunity, Putnam advocates for the careful development and reform of programs such as early childhood education, apprenticeships, tutoring, community colleges, and parent coaching.

While Murray agreed with Putnam’s observations, he questioned the efficacy of “purple policies.” Citing a study in Nature, Murray said that factors such as family income, parenting style, and education account for a limited amount of variance in outcomes like cognitive ability. Genes predict these outcomes more accurately.

Charles Murray is correct about genes, along with Arthur Jenson, who is right about the ineffectiveness of trying to boost IQ through intervention, but this doesn’t preclude the efficacy of ‘purple policies’ if such policy is directed only to the gifted as measured by an IQ test, instead everyone. That’s why I support programs such as the high-IQ basic income, more spending for gifted programs, free higher education for smart people, as well as other ideas – so that America’s most important resource, cognitive capital, is not squandered.

Gifted education programs only account for a tiny percentage of the fed dept. of education budget:

The fact that the far-left side of the Bell Curve (IQ < 70) gets far more public education funding than the far-right (IQ > 130 ), despite the later contributing far more to society, as well both extreme scores being equally represented in the general population, is evidence of ‘reverse Darwinism’ and is a sub-optimal use of a public good (tax payer dollars).

From ‘88 to the New Millennium: The Rise and Decline of Gifted and Talented Programs:

By 2007, very little changed and the picture of G&T programs continued to be bleak. A report conducted by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) revealed that only 11 out of 29 states that mandated the identification of gifted students “provided funds to school systems to specifically support the gifted” ( The report also showed that 14 states spent “less that $500,000 per year on gifted education, with eight states expending $0” ( Today, G & T programs still face the same issues 24 years later

This is a disgrace.

I like the idea of ‘purple policies’, blending Republican and Democratic policy, to create optimal socioeconomic environments for America’s gifted poor & middle class, who may not have the same opportunities as the rich. Contra free market/libertarian purists, it doesn’t have to be a 100% government ‘hand-off’ approach; the government can play a helpful role in optimally allocating resources to spur/accelerate innovation, to help create tomorrow’s Teslas, Googles, Snapchats, Ubers, Apples and Facebooks, for example. But also, unlike the social Democrats, we don’t want too much entitlement spending for those those who will fritter the money away on things that don’t create lasting economic value. That’s the middle-ground. The idea is, if we’re going to have public spending, it should be done in such a way that creates as much lasting economic value as possible.

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