Free Markets, Free People


Bubble-headed nonsense from the left about income inequality

I

’m not sure what else to call it but it does indeed seem a fitting example of a discussion we recently had here about colleges failing to teach critical thinking.

Think Progress (of course) has a blog post headlined with “Income inequality in US worse than Egypt”.  Never let a crisis go to waste, huh?

First you are asked to believe that it is “income inequality” which is leading the pack of reasons the country wants Mubarak gone.  If not, what’s the purpose of the headline?

Secondly, there’s the equivalence this writer makes between the US and Egypt.   My guess Pat Garafalo has never been to Egypt (or perhaps even out of the US to a nation in which “poor” actually means poor) so he has no frame of reference in his comparison.  Its all about income inequality, that’s always "bad" and that is the leading reason for unrest, or so the reasoning, such that it is, seems to conclude.

Usually “income inequality” isn’t even on the radar screen when these sorts of things happen.  The grievances are more focused more generally on “freedom”, “liberty”, “oppression” and/or “democracy”.  You may, as you have in the case of Egypt, even hear “economic opportunity” as a reason.

No, “income inequality” is one of those terms the left likes to use as a sort of euphemism for “capitalist exploiters” – a part of their perpetual war on business.  “Capitalist exploiters” include any corporation and most business owners.  Of course they can’t use “capitalist exploiters” without revealing their game (and being dismissed out of hand), so “income inequality” has to do.   The implication, of course, is if we just took the money from those capitalist exploiters and spread it around (because, you know, those folks collect it and bury it in a coffee can in the back yard or stuff their mattress with it), all would be lovely.  

The fact remains that economic opportunity is lacking in Egypt not because of “capitalist exploiters” but because of government oppression and favoritism. 

Somehow though, and certainly there are problems with government intrusion here, what has gone on in Egypt is relevant to what is going on here and the proof is “income inequality”.  Make the connection for heaven sake – what’s wrong with you?

Garafalo takes a wave at trying to sound fair about his point, but remember, to swallow this whole you have to believe two things – one, that economics is a zero-sum game, so if the rich are getting richer the poor must get poorer and two, there is no opportunity for the poor to better their condition.  The rich are just making it worse and worse for the poor by earning taking more than their “fair share”.

Anyway, Garafalo says:

The Gini coefficient is used to measure inequality: the lower a country’s score, the more equal it is. Obviously, there are many things about the U.S. economy that make it far preferable to that in Egypt, including lower poverty rates, higher incomes, significantly better infrastructure, and a much higher standard of living overall. But income inequality in the U.S. is the worst it has been since the 1920′s, which is a real problem.

Using that, I’d have to guess that the former Soviet Union and it’s bloc of Eastern European satellites had very low Gini coefficient scores, wouldn’t you?

See, this is “equality” for equality’s sake.   It’s nonsense.  It is the turning of a concept from a positive to a negative.   We have all been promised something very profound in the country – equal protection under the law and equal opportunity to pursue “happiness”.  Yet it is something the left constantly and consistently pushes as a different message.  It doesn’t just want equality in opportunity – it want’s equality of outcome.

That’s why you continue to see long boring posts written about the subject of “income inequality”.  It is how the left justifies further intrusion by government and taking from those who “have” to give to those who “don’t have”.   It’s about time we made it clear that other than the leftist chorus, no one else is buying into their preaching.

Oh and the big finish to the Garafalo piece?

Yale economist Robert Shiller has said that income inequality “is potentially the big problem, which is bigger than this whole financial crisis.” “If these trends that we’ve seen for 30 years now in inequality continue for another 30 years…it’s going to create resentment and hostility,” he said. But tax and spending policies that provide adequate services and allow for economic mobility — along with a robust social safety net — can head off trouble that may come down the road.

“Bigger than this whole financial crisis”.  It will create “resentment and hostility”.  There may be “trouble … down the road”.

Really?

Have you freakin’ people looked around you and figured out yet how well everyone – in comparison with most of the rest of world – live here?   This constant refrain from the left is as tiresome as it is wrong.  It’s nonsense on a stick.  But you will continue to hear them whine about it for the foreseeable future because it is a way for them to justify taking your money for their purposes and sounding noble about it.

~McQ

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13 Responses to Bubble-headed nonsense from the left about income inequality

  • Thank you! I had this thought reading the ThinkProgress piece, but I cannot comment on their website (old version of IE at work).

    ThinkProgress regularly mentions how the top .1% or so earn (earn!) something like 10% of the nation’s income. They forget, however, to mention the proportion of income tax that that same .1% pay, and it’s relation to the taxes paid by the bottom 10%/20%/50% etc.

  • McQMy guess Pat Garafalo has never been to Egypt (or perhaps even out of the US to a nation in which “poor” actually means poor) so he has no frame of reference in his comparison.  Its all about income inequality, that’s always “bad” and that is the leading reason for unrest, or so the reasoning, such that it is, seems to conclude.

    This is the same sort of Marxian analysis that has been trotted out to explain Al Qaeda and 9-11: poor people angry at rich Americans for exploiting them.  It was crap then and it’s crap now.

    McQ
    Have you freakin’ people looked around you and figured out yet how well everyone – in comparison with most of the rest of world – live here?

    Exactly.  As the old saying goes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.  The “Gini Coefficient” sounds like a statistic, one ginned up to make political hay.  People don’t care too much about “inequality” when they don’t feel that they are really being screwed and / or don’t see a way to better their situation.  Even poor Americans have cel phones, plasma TV’s, etc., so most of them don’t get too upset at “the rich” because they have those things.  I don’t resent people like Warren Buffet or Steve Jobs or even Madonna or Kobe Bryant: they make lots of money and enjoy a good life.  I make quite a bit less but enjoy a good life, too.  I’d like to have more money, of course, but I hardly feel oppressed or downtrodden because I make perhaps 1% of what those people do.

    “If these trends that we’ve seen for 30 years now in inequality continue for another 30 years…it’s going to create resentment and hostility,” [economist Robert Shiller] said. But tax and spending policies that provide adequate services and allow for economic mobility — along with a robust social safety net — can head off trouble that may come down the road.

    In my view, he is advocating incompatible outcomes: tax and spending policies that “provide adequate services” tend to CHOKE OFF economic mobility both by robbing people of the incentive to do better (why work hard when one can stay home and live off “adequate services”?) and by taking money away from job creators to fund those services.

    I suggest, too, that our present policies are creating resentment: resentment of overpaid union and government employees whose VERY generous salary, benefits, and retirement packages are bankrupting companies, forcing jobs to go overseas, and ballooning the debts of governments at all levels in our country.  The same may also be said of resentment over public benefits paid to people who could actually work for a living and ESPECIALLY to illegal immigrants.

  • Hey! Daddy Warbucks George Soros makes more than me!

    Fork over the difference Bucko!

  • More so than having been or not been to Egypt, he evidently has never has a real job where income is EARNED, rather than distributed.
    The issue isn’t INCOME distribution, but PRODUCTION/PRODUCTIVITY distribution. Some people are fabulously productive, in a market sense, and others are merely dead weight at best.
    My guess: Garafalo is in the “Dead Weight” category. At best.

  • But income inequality in the U.S. is the worst it has been since the 1920′s, which is a real problem
    Yeah, that one’s always confused me. They constantly assert that it’s a “problem”, but the demonstrations of exactly how and why it’s problematic are elusive.
    When pressed, such people usually admit that the actual experience of poverty has more to do with absolute conditions than relative ones, and that the poor in the US (mostly) have it better than the middle class in many countries, let alone the actual poor worldwide… but somehow “inequality” is the thing they keep coming back to.
    Is it just envy, or what?

  • Income inequality in US worse than Egypt”.  Never let a crisis go to waste, huh?

    >>> What a stupid headline.  Nevermind what the actual standard of living is! 

    Look, whevener anyone rails about “income equality” just remember that the way they’d eliminate that problem would be to BRING EVERYONE DOWN TO THE SAME LOUSY LEVEL  (well, except for the elite of course. Somehow they never have to worry about this stuff. Income equality is just for us lousy proles and such)

  • Income inequality is bogus as hell.
    What matters is standard of living, which…up until the CURRENT Deemocrat-engineered collapse…has been steadily ramping up for Americans…PERIOD.
    The Thump Progress fool needs to read more…if not see more…
    http://pajamasmedia.com/richardfernandez/2011/01/25/happyland/
     

  • The Iron Lady (Thatcher) said it best (youtube video):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okHGCz6xxiw&feature=related