When numbers come out showing increasing black unemployment and poverty under the watch of the first black president, leftists haul out Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to create a distraction and blame whitey.
BarryO’s dwindling fan club likes to tell us that their man brought us out of the George W. Bush recession. We’re now getting official reports from the BarryO administration that we are in for a “double-dip recession.” So — that would mean they saved us from W’s recession, got us into another recession, and have us headed for YET another one? Instead of recognizing their errors and making corrections, BarryO’s crowd is pressing on with the same voodoo that led us into this current mess. In fact, they are doubling down and demanding that “the rich” shell out more to finance BarryO’s adventures in appropriation.
“The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer,” is a tired, worn-out baseless charge that has been repeated ad nauseum since Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981. (Interestingly, this phenomenon “continued” through the administration of Bush 41, halted during the Clinton years, then mystically reappeared on the scene during George W’s tenure in DC. )
You can’t find ANY credible economists or economic data to support that old maxim. It doesn’t matter to American leftists. Acting under the theory of “The Big Lie” perfected by Hitler propagandist Joseph Goebbels, leftists hope to repeat that line so many times people accept it as the gospel truth.
Here in Moore County, Dusty Rhodes treats us to leftist talking points like “rich get richer” in his regular column for our local thrice-weekly Pulitzer-prize winning local paper:
One of the most widely used and abused right-wing buzzwords of this wild and wacky century is “class warfare.”
Sometimes it seems as if it’s the knee-jerk wingnut answer to everything. Point out the growing inequality of income in America, in which the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer and more numerous, and the middle class is getting smaller and being squeezed harder? They won’t bother denying it, they’ll just complain that mentioning it is “class warfare.”
Propose a tax hike on the wealthiest Americans to pay for upgrades to American infrastructure (and in doing so, create more jobs for the companies who do the upgrading)? “Class warfare!” the Teahadists sputter.
Dusty and his comrades on The Left lifted this “rich got richer” line from the work of Cal-Berkeley academics Thomas Piketty and Emanuel Saez which, among other things, alleges that “the top 1 percent of Americans now receive 15 percent of all income, up from about 8 percent in the 1960s and 70s.”
(Do y’all remember Berkeley, California? It’s the west coast’s version of Chapel Hill-Carrboro. It’s a real moderate, reasonable kind of place where the city council protects smelly panhandlers and honors folks like The Viet Cong, The PLO, and The Sandinistas.)
For a dose of common sense on this whole “rich got richer” argument, I turn to economist Alan Reynolds. Anticipating some sputtering from Dusty and his comrades, here is Mr. Reynolds’s bio:
Alan Reynolds is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and was formerly Director of Economic Research at the Hudson Institute. He served as Research Director with National Commission on Tax Reform and Economic Growth, an advisor to the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, and as a member of the OMB transition team in 1981. His studies have been published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Joint Economic Committee, the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and St. Louis and the Australian Stock Exchange.
A wee bit impressive, eh? Check out what Mr Reynolds has to say in his piece entitled “Has U.S. Income Inequality Really Increased?”:
There are frequent complaints that U.S. income inequality has increased in recent decades. Estimates of rising inequality that are widely cited in the media are often based on federal income tax return data. Those data appear to show that the share of U.S. income going to the top 1 percent (those people with the highest incomes) has increased substantially since the 1970s.
However, there have been large changes in U.S. tax rules over time that have made a dramatic difference on what is reported as income on individual tax returns. Tax changes induced thousands of businesses to switch from filing under the corporate tax system to filing under the individual tax system. Corporate executives switched from accepting stock options taxed as capital gains to nonqualified stock options taxed as salaries. The huge growth in tax-favored savings plans, such as 401(k)s, has resulted in billions of dollars of investment income disappearing from tax returns. Meanwhile, studies of inequality that are based on tax return data usually exclude transfer payments, which results in exaggerating the shares of income received by those at the top by ignoring growing amounts of income at the bottom.
Reynolds suggests that the measurements supporting the Leftists’s allegations of income inequality have been affected by “large reductions in income tax rates, particularly in 1986”:
Estimates by many economists indicate that the reported income of high- income taxpayers is very responsive to tax rates. When top tax rates on wages or capital gains fall, reported incomes rise, and a larger fraction of the incomes of those at the top show up on tax returns. International comparisons show that reported income shares of those at the top have risen the most where top tax rates have been cut the most (the United States, the United Kingdom, and India) and have risen the least where top tax rates have remained very high (France and Japan).
In sum, studies based on tax return data provide highly misleading comparisons of changes to the U.S. income distribution because of dramatic changes in tax rules and tax reporting in recent decades. Aside from stock option windfalls during the late-1990s stock-market boom, there is little evidence of a significant or sustained increase in the inequality of U.S. incomes, wages, consumption, or wealth over the past 20 years.
Boy, it’s rough when facts get in the way. The horse is dead, Dusty. Find something else to beat on.