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wall street - OPINION The Lefts Inequality Obsession By...

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OPINION The Left’s ‘Inequality’ Obsession By Arthur C. Brooks July 19, 2007; Page A15 The U.S. is a rich nation getting richer. According to Census figures, the average inflation-adjusted income in the top quintile of American earners increased 22% between 1993 and 2003. Incomes in the middle quintile rose 17% on average, while the incomes in the bottom quintile increased 13%. Over the 30 years prior to 2003, top-quintile earners saw their real incomes increase by two-thirds, versus a quarter for those in the middle quintile and a fifth among the bottom earners. The rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer. So what? Reason to celebrate? Not according to those worried that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer. The National Opinion Research Center’s General Social Survey (GSS) indicates that in 1973, the average family in the top quintile earned about 10 times what the average bottom-quintile family earned. Today that difference has grown to almost 15 times greater. Thus Senator Barack Obama complains that “the average CEO now earns more in one day than an average worker earns in an entire year.” John Edwards has famously spoken of the “two Americas,” while Senator Hillary Clinton characterizes today’s economy as “trickle-down economics without the trickle.” She declares that a progressive era is at hand because of “rising inequality and rising pessimism in our work force.” The general view among liberals is that economic inequality is socially undesirable because it makes people miserable; they propose to solve the problem through redistributive policies such as higher income taxes. As a scholar working in the field of public policy, I have long witnessed egalitarian hand-wringing about the alleged connection between inequality and unhappiness. What first made me doubt this prevailing view was that when I questioned actual human beings about it, few expressed any shock and outrage at the enormous incomes of software moguls and CEOs. They tended rather to hope that their kids might become the next Bill Gates. And, in fact, the evidence reveals that it is not economic inequality that frustrates Americans.
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wall street - OPINION The Lefts Inequality Obsession By...

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