Sunday, October 18, 2015

The problem with the Sanders phenomenon

First, the Foundation of Economic Education notes, is his (mistaken?) belief that the 'rich are getting richer' on the backs of the poor. The reality is somewhat different:

Senator Sanders is half right: the rich are getting richer. However, his assertion that the poor are becoming poorer is incorrect. The poor are becoming richer as well.

Economist Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institute showed that between 1979 and 2010, the real (inflation-adjusted) after-tax income of the top 1% of U.S. income-earners grew by an impressive 202%.

He also showed that the real after-tax income of the bottom fifth of income-earners grew by 49%. All groups made real income gains. While the rich are making gains at a faster pace, both the rich and the poor are in fact becoming richer.
The irony is that while the Democratic slate for President is made up of privileged white people, their advocacy isn't so much for policies that address poverty but bringing down the rich (or more precisely, high income earners - conveniently excluding the wealthy who already have capital and continue to generate wealth through their capital/inheritances, NYPost via Instapundit):
Progressives, in other words, are shooting at the wrong target. The moral problem posed by the distribution of wealth isn’t inequality.

It’s poverty.

The same issue? Frankfurt shows they’re not. Suppose, he says, there is a resource that will keep a person alive, but only if that person has five units of it. There are 10 people, and 40 units of the resource. If it’s distributed equally, everybody gets four units — and dies. To insist on equality in that case, he argues, “would be morally grotesque.”

Fortunately, says Frankfurt, we don’t really try to promote equality. Even those who worry about inequality adjust their consumption to their own assessments of their needs. They don’t reduce their consumption because it’s unfair for them to have money.
More (WashingtonPost via Instapundit): What Bernie Sanders doesn't understand about income inequality.

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