Entries Tagged as 'income inequality'

The Coming Liberal Argument

December 19th, 2011 at 12:00 am 51 Comments

Here is a real effect Occupy Wall Street is having on the liberal left. They will start to blame the current bad economy explicitly on income inequality.

Here is Heather Boushey writing at the Center for American Progress:

Take, malady for example, buy the housing bubble of the 2000s. It was facilitated in no small part by exotic mortgages that were sliced and diced and sold to investors who pushed home prices to hitherto unknown heights. And when it popped, millions of American families—through no fault of their own except the decision to buy a home—were left with mortgages greater than the value of their homes. High rates of foreclosure still plague our economy.

Click here to read more

The Right to Rise? Ok!

David Frum December 19th, 2011 at 12:00 am 244 Comments

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Gov. Jeb Bush celebrates the “right to rise,” a concept he credits to Rep. Paul Ryan.

The idea behind the phrase is a powerful one: “We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise.” At a time when Americans born into the poorest fifth of the population are less likely to rise into the next fifth than people in almost any other advanced democracy, the governor’s urging is welcome. But how to make it real?

Gov. Bush’s op-ed is built on the assumption that the over-regulation of business is the most important impediment to upward mobility in the United States:

Click here to read more

What Keeps the American Dream Alive?

December 16th, 2011 at 1:50 am 22 Comments

President Obama’s recent speech on income inequality and upward mobility has struck a chord with many Democrats. If the President keeps using this rhetoric, then it could become a central message of the 2012 campaign. If this happens, I would also bet that Elizabeth Warren will give the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention in 2012.

What’s interesting is that while there is growing awareness that America is a more unequal country, there is less awareness that America is also a less upwardly mobile society.

Click here to read more

How I’d Revive the Middle Class

David Frum December 12th, 2011 at 3:43 pm 52 Comments

“Easy for Me to Say” is a FrumForum feature series in which David Frum answers reader questions about political issues. Readers are invited to pose questions that take the form of: “OK – so what would you do instead of this or that politician you’ve criticized?”

Questions should be e-mailed to editor [at] frumforum.com with “Easy for Me to Say” in the subject line.

In my column for CNN, I discuss economic policies that can help the American middle class, in response to question about my column in The Week on the President’s Kansas speech:

Realistically, the president’s Kansas speech translates into a formula of higher taxes on the rich to pay for more spending on favored Democratic public-sector constituencies. But what about the much larger private-sector middle class? Does the president have anything to offer those people — aside from the promise of a bigger government that might hire somewhat more people to enjoy the superior retirement packages offered to government workers?

Short answer: No.

What would a serious plan to improve middle-class incomes and opportunities look like?

Click here to read more

Maybe Obama Doesn’t Need the Middle Class

December 9th, 2011 at 12:00 am 34 Comments

I have not commented on the recent Tom Edsall piece on the Democrats abandoning the white working class but Michael Barone does so here. An interesting nugget in that article is that Obama won a greater share of the vote than all but three Democratic Presidents but:

[H]e did it without capturing the vast middle of the electorate. He won with a top-and-bottom coalition, capsule carrying voters with incomes over $200,000 and under $50,000 and losing those in between. He carried voters with graduate school degrees and those with no high school diplomas and ran only even with the others.

Click here to read more

He Went to Kansas to Say That?

David Frum December 7th, 2011 at 4:11 pm 60 Comments

In my column for The Week, I discuss how Obama’s speech on income inequality fell short:

The Kansas speech was composed of two main parts: a critique of the performance of the U.S. economy over the past generation, and a program for “rebalancing” in the years ahead.

The trouble is that the more convincing you find the critique, the less convincing you will find the proposed solution.

Click here to read more

British Conservatives Face the Future

November 15th, 2011 at 1:03 am 47 Comments

Anyone who gets drawn into the attempts to modernize the Republican Party inevitably ends up reading about the experiences of the UK and Canadian conservatives. The Canadian Conservatives went through many years in the wilderness before they eventually secured their current governing majority and the British Conservatives are also actively debating how to modernize their own party.

When an American reads the literature that these debates produce, diagnosis its impossible not to feel some longing for the discussion that is taking place in other countries.

Click here to read more

The Top 5% vs. The Next 25%

November 14th, 2011 at 1:34 am 42 Comments

Is there a relationship between inequality and mobility? Occupy Wall Street argues that there is one, which is why their message that they are the “99%” carries a dual meaning. They argue that disproportionate wealth is held by the top 1% and that there is no mobility into their ranks. But are these two ideas actually related?

Click here to read more

Upward Mobility: It’s a Race Thing

November 11th, 2011 at 1:06 pm 62 Comments

You don’t have to accept some of the anarchistic radicalism at Occupy Wall Street to admit that America is a country with high income inequality and low upward mobility. Some Conservatives have tried to obfuscate this reality but others are actually wrestling with it.

A recent issue of National Review is thankfully in this latter camp and has an essay by Scott Winship which goes over the research produced by the Pew Economic Mobility Project as well as recent work from the Brookings Institute.

Click here to read more

Do Facts Matter in the Inequality Debate?

November 9th, 2011 at 4:58 pm 28 Comments

In the Weekly Standard, diagnosis Matthew Continetti warns conservatives that the data on income inequality might, just might, not be backing up conservative talking points:

What too many [conservatives] have done is accept the premise that the purpose of government is to lessen inequalities of goods. To dispute the studies on income inequality is not to deny the presupposition on which those studies rest. To argue that “income inequality is a myth” is to imply that, if income inequality were not a myth, there would be a problem. As soon as one runs to social science’s vast library of Babel, where a study can be found to prove practically anything, one is conceding valuable ground.

Click here to read more