A few days ago Paul at PowerLine had fun with Jeff Stein at Washington Post trying to use income inequality to support a wish list on the left. Do read all that Paul has to say but he puts the major point succinctly:
I like to ask those who throw such numbers around questions like “how much wealth in relation to the poorest 80 million households should the richest 400 Americans control?” and “what percentage of the wealth created in this country since 1982 should have gone to the top 5 percent?”
Unless you have a goal there is no reason to play. We would have put the goal as a Gini Coefficient but the effect is the same. We want to play too.
Early on Jeff says:
But while there’s consensus that America is a wildly unequal country, there’s broad disagreement on what, if anything, should be done to address that. [Emphasis added]
It is hard to define wildly in the sentence above but our response would be that there is no consensus that America is a wildly unequal country and there is broad agreement that nothing should be done about income inequality per se. Perhaps we are being hopeful on the consensus but we hope not. There is much to do to improve the economic lot of Americans but trying to change the some aspect of income inequality is taking your eye off the ball.
Jeff has a couple of fun suggestions from Americans For Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation. They are Get Government Out Of The Way, Repeal Rules And Regulation and, our favorite, Send The 1% To Venezuela. The latter is tongue in cheek but it is likely to reach the goal without much damage to the economy. Why not much damage to the economy? Well Facebook, Microsoft, and Walmart will still be American companies. America might lose some spending by those rich folks but we won’t lose the capital. Most of the rest are just a wish list from the left like universal government childcare or union rights often combined with taxing capital. It is not clear that any of those suggestions will help income inequality and, as proof of the distraction of income inequality, the proponents rarely argue their suggestion is the best way to combat income inequality. Let’s worry about important stuff. Changing income inequality is not important in America.