Income Inequality, One More Time

The fundamental point about income inequality is that all income groups have made solid economic gains over the past few decades, and nothing in a recent piece responding to my post on income inquality, indicates otherwise.

In the opening paragraph, Mr. Mitchell states that questioning why income inequality matters if all income levels are gaining is “a poor way of framing the argument as it makes magnitude irrelevant. Indeed, following Mr. Weinberger’s logic, the top 1% could be taking home $0.99 of every dollar the entire country earns, essentially turning our society into an oligarchy, yet Mr. Weinberger would ask what the problem is.”

This statement encapsulates most fundamentally the difference in worldviews. The left sees inequality itself as a problem. This is because equality is one of the left’s highest values. The right values equality, too, but in a different sense. The left values equality in the sense of equal outcomes. The right values equality in the sense of equal opportunity. The conflict arises because equality of opportunity is incompatible with equality of outcome.

In response to Mr. Mitchell’s point, let’s assume for a moment that we’re in an economy where the top 1 percent takes home $0.99 of every dollar (We’re nowhere near that today), but everyone is still gaining. How could this be, some may ask?

If there are more dollars in the economy, everyone will gain. For example, if we had an economy that produced $100 trillion per year, instead of our current $14 trillion per year, there would be many more dollars from which everybody could take a slice. So, even though the slices of each dollar would be unequal, everyone would be taking more total slices, resulting in gains for all.



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