Let's Talk about Inequality, Liberals

Our liberal friends like to talk about inequality, and we know why.  Liberals are deeply concerned about the increase of economic inequality since 1980.  There's even a book about it: The Great Divergence, by Timothy Noah, adapted from a ten part online article published on Slate in 2010.

Here's the basic problem, according to Noah.  In the 1920s, the top 10 percent of income-earners took home about 45 percent of "market income" that excluded government transfers.  Then, during World War II, this share plummeted to 35 percent and stayed there until about 1980.  Since then, the top ten percent has been increasing its share, and now it is back up to 45 percent.  This is "not a change for the better," writes Noah.

It's not due to race or gender, says Noah, because blacks and women have done better over recent years.  Could it be immigration?  No, economists "find little evidence that immigration harms the economic interests of native-born Americans."  Yes, it impacted the low-skilled, but it did not really harm the average worker.  Could it be computers?  Possibly, but inequality started up in the 1980s before the computer revolution really hit its stride.

What about evil Republicans?  Now you are talking: lower-income quintiles did better during Democratic presidencies that Republican presidencies, but it is hard to know why.  Labor unions?  Well, the Republican Taft-Hartley Act, union-busting, and delays in minimum-wage increases really hurt.  International trade?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe it's the Stinking Rich -- the finance, entertainment, and CEO stars -- but nobody knows why.  Thank goodness that Democrats aren't to blame for any of this.

So what is Noah's solution?  According to Scott Winship, it's this.

Noah wants to "soak the rich," create a public-jobs program, "impose price controls" on colleges, "revive the labor movement," and "elect Democratic Presidents."

Wow! Those liberal writers can really think outside the box when they try!

But ever since the Chick-fil-A business hit the fan, I've wondered if our national inequality problem is really a material -- an income -- problem, as Timothy Noah seems to think.  After all, who wants to obsess over material possessions and keeping up with the Joneses?  Surely cultural inequality is far more important, and cuts more cruelly into the positive self-esteem of the culturally deprived.

Cultural equality must be important because, not ten minutes from the moment that President "Saul" Obama had his vision about marriage equality on the Road to Stonewall, Democrats from the Holy Office were taking folks like Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy out and showing them the instruments of torture.

Like the president and his liberal cardinals, I am also deeply concerned about marriage equality -- for instance, the inequality on marriage between the educated class and the rest.  You've probably seen the numbers in Coming Apart by Charles Murray.  Back in 1960, about 88 percent of the top 20 percent of white 30- to 49-year-olds was married and about 83 percent of the bottom 30 percent was married.  Now it is 83 percent for the top and 48 percent for the bottom.  That's right.  Less than half of the white working class is now married, but there's hardly been a change in the top 20 percent.

And it's not just an academic issue of percentages.  When less than 50 percent of the white working class is married, it raises a question about "the children."  Their safety.  Here's how I addressed the problem back in 2005:

Children living with their fathers are safer than other children. The safest place for a child to live is with its biological married parents.  The most dangerous place to live is with mother and a boy friend who is not the father of the child.  Want to guess how dangerous?  It is 33 times more dangerous for a child to live with mommie and her boy friend than to live with the child's married biological mother and father, according to James Bartholomew in The Welfare State We're In.

But, surely, most children are not subject to the predations of a live-in boy friend?  That is true. A child is only 5 times more at risk when living with mother married to a stepfather than when living with its married, natural parents.

Yes.  Let's talk about inequality, liberals.  Let's talk about marriage equality.  I'd say that it goes way beyond a question of "lifestyle" or "inequality" that a child of the married Dan Cathy is 33 times safer than a child living with mommy and boyfriend. 

And what are liberals doing about this?  They are writing silly books about income inequality.  They are turning away their eyes from fatherless children to play "look, squirrel!" with gay marriage.

Our liberal ruling class has thrown away its moral authority.  It is time for a change.

Christopher Chantrill (chrischantrill@gmail.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us.  At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.

Our liberal friends like to talk about inequality, and we know why.  Liberals are deeply concerned about the increase of economic inequality since 1980.  There's even a book about it: The Great Divergence, by Timothy Noah, adapted from a ten part online article published on Slate in 2010.

Here's the basic problem, according to Noah.  In the 1920s, the top 10 percent of income-earners took home about 45 percent of "market income" that excluded government transfers.  Then, during World War II, this share plummeted to 35 percent and stayed there until about 1980.  Since then, the top ten percent has been increasing its share, and now it is back up to 45 percent.  This is "not a change for the better," writes Noah.

It's not due to race or gender, says Noah, because blacks and women have done better over recent years.  Could it be immigration?  No, economists "find little evidence that immigration harms the economic interests of native-born Americans."  Yes, it impacted the low-skilled, but it did not really harm the average worker.  Could it be computers?  Possibly, but inequality started up in the 1980s before the computer revolution really hit its stride.

What about evil Republicans?  Now you are talking: lower-income quintiles did better during Democratic presidencies that Republican presidencies, but it is hard to know why.  Labor unions?  Well, the Republican Taft-Hartley Act, union-busting, and delays in minimum-wage increases really hurt.  International trade?  Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe it's the Stinking Rich -- the finance, entertainment, and CEO stars -- but nobody knows why.  Thank goodness that Democrats aren't to blame for any of this.

So what is Noah's solution?  According to Scott Winship, it's this.

Noah wants to "soak the rich," create a public-jobs program, "impose price controls" on colleges, "revive the labor movement," and "elect Democratic Presidents."

Wow! Those liberal writers can really think outside the box when they try!

But ever since the Chick-fil-A business hit the fan, I've wondered if our national inequality problem is really a material -- an income -- problem, as Timothy Noah seems to think.  After all, who wants to obsess over material possessions and keeping up with the Joneses?  Surely cultural inequality is far more important, and cuts more cruelly into the positive self-esteem of the culturally deprived.

Cultural equality must be important because, not ten minutes from the moment that President "Saul" Obama had his vision about marriage equality on the Road to Stonewall, Democrats from the Holy Office were taking folks like Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy out and showing them the instruments of torture.

Like the president and his liberal cardinals, I am also deeply concerned about marriage equality -- for instance, the inequality on marriage between the educated class and the rest.  You've probably seen the numbers in Coming Apart by Charles Murray.  Back in 1960, about 88 percent of the top 20 percent of white 30- to 49-year-olds was married and about 83 percent of the bottom 30 percent was married.  Now it is 83 percent for the top and 48 percent for the bottom.  That's right.  Less than half of the white working class is now married, but there's hardly been a change in the top 20 percent.

And it's not just an academic issue of percentages.  When less than 50 percent of the white working class is married, it raises a question about "the children."  Their safety.  Here's how I addressed the problem back in 2005:

Children living with their fathers are safer than other children. The safest place for a child to live is with its biological married parents.  The most dangerous place to live is with mother and a boy friend who is not the father of the child.  Want to guess how dangerous?  It is 33 times more dangerous for a child to live with mommie and her boy friend than to live with the child's married biological mother and father, according to James Bartholomew in The Welfare State We're In.

But, surely, most children are not subject to the predations of a live-in boy friend?  That is true. A child is only 5 times more at risk when living with mother married to a stepfather than when living with its married, natural parents.

Yes.  Let's talk about inequality, liberals.  Let's talk about marriage equality.  I'd say that it goes way beyond a question of "lifestyle" or "inequality" that a child of the married Dan Cathy is 33 times safer than a child living with mommy and boyfriend. 

And what are liberals doing about this?  They are writing silly books about income inequality.  They are turning away their eyes from fatherless children to play "look, squirrel!" with gay marriage.

Our liberal ruling class has thrown away its moral authority.  It is time for a change.

Christopher Chantrill (chrischantrill@gmail.com) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us.  At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.

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