With the President claiming that income inequality is "the defining challenge of our time," the presumption is that the President is correct in his assessment. All the sheeple should do is just fall in line, marching lock-step behind the President as he leads them to the promised day of glory...when all income inequality will be expunged from the fruited plain.
According to the AEI folks, most Americans define income inequality based upon three erroneous assumptions:
- it is inherently unjust;
- it is bad for the economy; and,
- government redistribution of income provides the best, if only remedy.
Based on these assumptions, increasing taxes and hiking the federal minimum wage are presented as if they are the only tools capable of narrowing the gap between the 1% and the other 99%.
So, if you're not for increasing taxes and hiking the federal minimum wage, you're nothing more than a knuckle-dragging economic Neanderthal, an self-chosen ignoramus, or a racist. Just shut up and get with the program.
Well, that's nothing more than mounting an ad hominem offense. One would think the President and his minions would do better than that. After all, many of them graduated from Harvard University.
Having none of that, here's what the AEI folks have offered reasonable people as food for discourse:
- No common definition of "income" exists. For example, some researchers use pre-tax income data that doesn't account for transfer payments like food stamps or Medicare. So, people receiving those transfer payments appear poorer than they really are. "Living standards" provide a better metric: Are people's lives today better than they were yesterday? The simple fact is that Americans at all income levels have access to more material goods than they did in the 1980s. Furthermore, the gap between the 1% and the 99% in terms of the ownership of these possessions has narrowed.
- Liberals generally view inequality as a "systemic" problem: Income should be but isn't distributed evenly in the system. Conservatives generally view inequality as a symptom: The poor have fallen behind due to poor job creation or stagnating wages. The simple fact is that inequality can largely be driven by non-economic issues. For example, family structure and values correlate more strongly with economic mobility than does income inequality.
- If income inequality is the "defining challenge," less important challenges include: chronically weak economic growth; an employment rate that has barely moved from recession lows; and, the breakdown of the traditional family unit. There is little evidence suggesting that the 1% who are doing better than the 99% in these difficult economic times has slowed economic growth, hurt middle class incomes, or reduced mobility.
The one fact that liberals--like President Obama--will never admit is that income inequality will never disappear. If they did admit this fact, there'd be nothing to argue about and they'd have to adopt conservative solutions. However, by calling income inequality a "defining challenge," the President seeks to divide people and divert their attention away from that fact.
It's too bad that the sheeple don't seem able to figure this out for themselves because they can easily determine whether or not they're better off than they were 2 or 4 or 8 years ago. As long as there is equal opportunity, everyone has a chance to succeed and move up the ladder. Blaming all of those 1%'ers is nothing more a less-than-artful dodge that to motivate the base. But, doing so does absolutely nothing to help improve their incomes.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the AEI report, click on the following link:
"Opportunity for All: How to Think about Income Inequality."