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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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How to Manipulate Income Measurements

November 8th, 2011 at 1:44 pm 14 Comments

Noah Kristula-Green raises some valid points about views of income mobility but he could go further: Year-to-year income measures are only one way to measure economic status and, sildenafil like every other measure, see give an incomplete picture.

Consider a few examples: measured by income alone, remedy a family with a net worth of $1 billion that parks all of its assets in growth categories and heads off for a year long round the world luxury tour is “poor.” So (a lot more commonly) is a divorced mom still driving a paid-off Lexus and living in the 4-bedroom split-level on which her ex-husband pays the mortgage.

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Downwardly Mobile America

November 7th, 2011 at 2:07 am 39 Comments

James Pethokoukis has posted a new chart on his blog as part of his ongoing commentary about income inequality in America. In this post, he argues that “alarmists” are wrong to worry about income inequality because America has a lot of upward economic mobility:

Turns out that the Tax Foundation has also looked at the economic mobility issue. Using IRS data, it found that about 60 percent of households that were in the lowest income quintile in 1999 were in a higher quintile in 2007.About 40 percent of households in the top quintile moved to a lower quintile over this 9 year period.

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Libertarians For Oligarchy?

David Frum November 4th, 2011 at 8:50 am 62 Comments

It’s an unusual day when Arnold Kling agrees with Paul Krugman.

But over at AEI’s online magazine, the libertarian Kling endorsed Krugman’s oft-asserted claim that the western world is moving into a new era of economic oligarchy. But whereas Krugman rails against this trend, Kling imperturbably accepts the apparent trend as the inevitable working of economic forces:

The recent trend in job polarization raises the possibility that gains in well-being that come from productivity improvements will accrue to an economic elite. Perhaps the middle-class affluence that emerged during the latter part of the industrial age is not going to be a feature of the information age.

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