Krugman tries to move on, stumbles

Paul Krugman is  back to discussing income inequality on his blog, following a very negative reaction to his disgraceful column on the Tucson shootings, in which he led a left wing chorus arguing that Gabrielle Giffords was brought down by a gunman undoubtedly influenced by Arizona's climate of hate, engendered by talk radio, Sarah Palin, Fox News, and other assorted villains on the right.  

Krugman writes for the New York Times, and the paper's editorial on the mass murder doubled down on Krugman's obnoxious take on the event.  Charles Krauthammer did the best, and hopefully lasting damage to Krugman's already rapidly declining reputation with his column on the subject.

But with regard to income inequality, there a fascinating graph in Krugman's latest blog on the subject.

Krugman, and his fellow Times op ed writer Nicholas Kristof always argue that income inequality is a bad thing, and grew rapidly due to the policies of President George W. Bush who favored the wealthiest of Americans with his tax cut programs.  Notice, however that the top 1% as far as incomes, reached an income share of just over 21% of total income in the year 2000, following a swift rise in this share during the 8 years when Bill Clinton was President. In 1992, the top 1% earned about 15% of total income, so the top 1%  had their income share grow from 15% to 21% in 8 years.  

Now note that in 2008, the last year of the Bush administration, the income share of the top 1% was back below the level when Bush took office (just below 21%).   Regardless of whether you think 21% is too high or not, the point is that income inequality grew substantially during the Clinton years and, from this graph, not at all in the Bush years.  Prior to the market collapse in 2008, the share for the top 1% grew to almost 24%, but it dropped 3% in 2008.   Krugman may know this, which is why he  states in his blog that the income share for the top 0.1% grew during the Bush years.  The share for the top 0.1% is not provided in the graph. 

Graphic by Big Bur Hat of iOwnTheWorld