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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tragedy for Legacy Media: 'Income Inequality' Straw-man Transformed Into Smoldering Pile of Ashes By Cato's Alan Reynolds

Over the past few months, you've probably read a series of propaganda pieces articles describing America's increased 'income inequality'. You know the template: the rich keep getting richer at the expense of everyone else; America has a static class structure in which no one moves up or down; and zero-sum economics idiocy promoted by the likes of the execrable Paul Krugman. A series of propagandists, including Krugman, have used this chart to illustrate how the top 1% are ripping everyone off.

But the Cato Institute's Alan Reynolds wondered, "Why did the report stop at 2007?"

A recent report from the Congressional Budget Office says, "The share of income received by the top 1% grew from about 8% in 1979 to over 17% in 2007."

This news caused quite a stir, feeding the left's obsession with inequality. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, for example, said this "jaw-dropping report" shows "why the Occupy Wall Street protests have struck such a nerve." The New York Times opined that the study is "likely to have a major impact on the debate in Congress over the fairness of federal tax and spending policies."

But here's a question: Why did the report stop at 2007? The CBO didn't say, although its report briefly acknowledged—in a footnote—that "high income taxpayers had especially large declines in adjusted gross income between 2007 and 2009."

No kidding. Once these two years are brought into the picture, the share of after-tax income of the top 1% by my estimate fell to 11.3% in 2009 from the 17.3% that the CBO reported for 2007.

The larger truth is that recessions always destroy wealth and small business incomes at the top. Perhaps those who obsess over income shares should welcome stock market crashes and deep recessions because such calamities invariably reduce "inequality." Of course, the same recessions also increase poverty and unemployment.

The only thing I can conclude is that crackpots like Paul Krugman want more stock market crashes and deep recessions. Which perhaps explains his affection for Barack Obama.

And why he must believe that countries with the least income inequality -- like North Korea -- are just swell.

Hat tips: TaxProf and Mark Levin.

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