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Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 381 -- When Policy Favors Equality Above All Else.
Left-wingers are obsessed with economic inequality. Far too many of them believe that America is a brutal land where the rich only get rich at the expense of the poor, as if wealth is a zero sum game. Far too many imagine an America that is unfair and mean. Far too many fail to recognize the fact that America remains the land of opportunity, with unparalleled upward mobility. Far too many resent or ignore the fact that Americans can take great risks and achieve fantastic dream-like success. Far too many believe that socialist confiscation and redistribution of wealth will solve America's inequality "problem."
They even sometimes offer unsolicited and random comments like this on blogs:
Huh--may be the the fact that a lot of working-class Americans are not seeing the benefits of the economy's strength. We're pretty much leading the world in terms of income inequality, if you didn't know, because of our currently regressive tax policies.
To the extent that Americans actually believe that nonsense, it's due to an unconscionable and unethical media failure. In recent years, Americans have consistently rated their own current and future economic situations as rosy, all while telling pollsters how bad they believe the overall economy to be doing.
There's no way, with the widely enjoyed economic success America has experienced over the past few years, that these numbers should be so low. No way, other than a media dominated by liberals, disseminating consistently liberal viewpoints, to an unwitting audience
No matter how awesome things are going, there will be Marxists who want to go and ruin it with-- among other things-- "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax."
For example, The Economic Policy Institute, an ultra-liberal think tank owned by big labor, produced the following graph, tweaked slightly by yours truly (.pdf):
So... that's the inequality we're supposed to work toward eliminating. Tim Worstall notes:
All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely ... nothing.
Apparently it has not yet dawned on the socialists that American inequality coincides with, contributes to, and is a result of American greatness. We've always been a society predicated on inequality. As Don King might say, "only in America" can almost anyone with a good idea or some talent, simply willing to take calculated risks, get rich beyond their wildest dreams. This goes for entertainers, athletes, and entrepreneurs, alike.
But America is about more than chasing fabulous riches. The regular old middle class American dream is eminently attainable.
Indeed, Rich Lowry explains that, in an economy with 4.5% unemployment, simply working (rather than not working) is the key to avoiding poverty:
The key difference between the richest and poorest households, Reynolds finds, is simply work: “Most income in the top fifth of households is from two or more people working full time. Most income in the bottom fifth is from government transfer payments.” According to the Census Bureau, there are almost six times as many full-time workers in the top households as in the bottom, and 56.4 percent of the bottom households didn’t have anyone working at all in 2004.
The "working poor" theorem just doesn't hold up. And with 7 million net new jobs since the 2003 tax cuts, the non-working poor theorem also doesn't hold up.
More from Lowry:
“The vanishing middle class” is another claim Reynolds doesn’t buy. If the middle class is perpetually defined as those earning between $35,000 and $50,000, it will constantly be vanishing as people get richer. In this vein, one liberal study complained that 31.3 percent of families earned more than $75,000 in 2002, whereas only 11.1 percent earned that much in 1969. “By this measure,” it concluded, “America’s broad middle class has been shrinking.” No, members of the middle class were getting richer.
Our middle class is doing so well that, statistically-speaking, many liberals find it difficult to continue using the "middle class" nomenclature. To the extent that the American middle class is disappearing, it's that it is on the move-- upward.
America has lower unemployment and a faster growing economy (on top of an already-larger economy) than any other industrialized country in the world.
And after a few years of lagging wage growth, the case for raising the minimum wage has taken a major blow, with a brisk rise in American wages over the past year:
Indeed, the picture looks far better if you account for after-tax income. The tax relief every American has seen under this administration has led to after-tax, after-inflation income growth of 9.4% per person.
When left-wingers complain about inequality, they are really just complaining about success. When they want the United States to be more like Europe (with its wonderful equality), they really just hate precisely what makes America great. Their policy remedies for inequality amount to the worst sort of punitive socialism, and we should reject them outright.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Tax Cuts Equal Awesomeness.
Posted by Will Franklin · 9 December 2006 09:27 PM