[PEN-L:15734] Why Decry the Wealth Gap?

William S. Lear rael at zopyra.com
Mon Jan 24 18:27:08 PST 2000

On Monday, January 24, 2000 at 13:26:56 (-1000) Stephen E Philion writes:
> And what of the poorest Americans' loss of ground compared to the
> richest, as reported by the Fed? The apostles of equality consider
> the rising inequality kindling for social unrest. But while that
> would be true if most workers on the bottom rungs were trapped
> there for generations, America isn't a caste society, and studies
> that track individuals' incomes over time show that Americans have
> a remarkable ability to propel themselves upward.
> A 17-year study of lifetime earnings by the Federal Reserve Bank of
> Dallas found that only 5 percent of people in the economy's lowest
> 20 percent failed to move to a higher income group. In a similar
> study by the Treasury Department covering 1979 to 1988, 86 percent
> of Americans in the bottom fifth of income earners improved their
> status.
> Inequality is not inequity. Artificial efforts to try to curb
> wealth gaps invariably do more harm than good. Heavier taxation
> might narrow the division between rich and poor, but it would be a
> hollow triumph if it stifled the economy. What Americans ought to
> care most about is maintaining our growth, not the red herring of
> gaps in income and wealth.
> W. Michael Cox, chief economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of
> Dallas, and Richard Alm are co-authors of "Myths of Rich and Poor."

Hmm, the 1960s were an era of unmatched growth and relative equality, if I'm not mistaken. And, what exactly are "artificial efforts to try to curb wealth gaps", and how do they differ from the artificial efforts to impose the cost of operating our system for the benefit of the few on the weakest in our society? I think they need to take a look at Horwitz's *Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860*, among other things.

Didn't someone on the sane side of the fence recently put out a report that debunked this sort of nonsense?

I'd like to see a point-by-point rebuttal to this, sent certified mail, to the authors. Let's draft it here and let Max send it off on his finest letterhead.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list