Sunday, April 20, 2014

A very good day

I am pretty sure that everyone favors "fairness." Most also frown on "inequality." Nothing beats being on the side of the angels. But there are serious (almost endless) problems of definition and measurement. The flies in the ointment are best avoided.

Almost all of the increasing inequality stories are flawed because they compare snapshots rather than real people -- who cannot be permanently pegged via one year of (measured and reported) income data. Thomas Sowell has been pointing out this simple (but inconvenient) fact for many years.

But today is a very good day because the simple fact has penetrated the pages of the NY Times ("From Rags to Riches ... The income gap isn't as static as we think.")
Rather than talking about the 1 percent and the 99 percent as if they were forever fixed, it would make much more sense to talk about the fact that Americans are likely to be exposed to both prosperity and poverty during their lives, and to shape our policies accordingly. As such, we have much more in common with one another than we dare to realize.
 Read the whole thing and keep it handy. You will be hearing about the the 1 percent and 99 percent a lot.