Tuesday, July 14, 2009

'Thinking Clearly about Income Equality'

Cato's Will Wilkinson has produced a well thought out monograph that deals with the faulty logic "progressives" use to justify their wrong headed solutions represented by their "Share the Wealth" meme.

Executive Summary:
"Recent discussions of economic inequality,marked by a lack of clarity and care, have confused the public about the meaning and moral significance of rising income inequality. Income statistics paint a misleading picture of real standards of living and real economic inequality.

Several strands of evidence about real standards of living suggest a very different picture of the trends in economic inequality. In any case, the dispersion of incomes at any given time has, at best, a tenuous connection to human welfare or social justice. The pattern of incomes is affected by both morally desirable and undesirable mechanisms. When injustice or wrongdoing increases income inequality, the problem is the original malign cause, not the resulting inequality.

Many thinkers mistake national populations for 'society' and thereby obscure the real story about the effects of trade and immigration on welfare,equality, and justice. There is little evidence that high levels of income inequality lead down a slippery slope to the destruction of democracy and rule by the rich.The unequal political voice of the poor can be addressed only through policies that actually work to fight poverty and improve education.

Income inequality is a dangerous distraction from the real problems: poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and systemic injustice."
Other excerpts:
"If we care about the welfare of the least privileged members of our society, a focus on equality of 'voice' may actually be counterproductive."

"Our goal is to make sure that people have meaningful opportunities to make the most of their lives. At best, income inequality is a distraction."

"It is not okay for intellectuals and policymakers to waste time and energy worrying that some people have done too well. It doesn’t help.

Nor does it help to encourage people to concentrate on differences in income, or to resent them. Demoralization and resentment are not what people need. "


  1. Read an article recently that said a mother and two children on welfare get the equivalent of $25,000 income in rent, health care and food stamps This wasn't counting the child care and fee schooling/gas money and even lunch money, or any other programs they may qualify for.

    So I have to agree there is much income inequality. I had to work for my $25,000 a year while others get to sit home and visit with neighbors who are also being discriminated against and lacking everything their little hearts desire because of income inequality.

    I don't have any kids but if I don't mention that Felix and Gaylord are rabbits do you think I can sign up for some of this inequality? BB

  2. "I don't have any kids but if I don't mention that Felix and Gaylord are rabbits do you think I can sign up for some of this inequality? BB"

    I'm with you.

    Cody, Jack, and Mr. Bill are my dependents. I ought to qualify, too.

    The fact that they're birds shouldn't matter.