Thursday, July 19, 2007

WSJ: The Left's 'Inequality' Obsession

A commentary in today's WSJ suggests that the left's obsession with economic 'inequality' in America is misplaced.

The U.S. is a rich nation getting richer. According to Census figures, the average inflation-adjusted income in the top quintile of American earners increased 22% between 1993 and 2003. Incomes in the middle quintile rose 17% on average, while the incomes in the bottom quintile increased 13%. Over the 30 years prior to 2003, top-quintile earners saw their real incomes increase by two-thirds, versus a quarter for those in the middle quintile and a fifth among the bottom earners.

Reason to celebrate? Not according to those worried that the rich are getting richer faster than the poor are getting richer.


Mr. Brooks asserts that the way to improve economic happiness is to promote economic mobility.

An accurate and constructive vision of America sees a land of both inequality and opportunity, in which hard work and perseverance are the keys to jumping from the ranks of the have-nots to those of the haves. This vision promotes policies focused not on wiping out economic inequality, but rather on enhancing economic mobility. These policies include improving educational opportunities, addressing cultural impediments to success, enhancing the fluidity of labor markets, searching for ways to include all citizens in America's investing revolution, and protecting the climate for entrepreneurship.

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