Economy, Regs, & Taxes

NYT Income Inequality Dezinfomatsia

Their "news analysis" on the middle class reads like any Obama campaign speech.

Apr. 23, 2014
The politics of envy

“The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction,” declares The New York Times in Tuesday’s exposé on “high and rising income inequality” in America. The Times continues, “While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.”

You get the picture. Essentially, the story is a press release for the perpetual Obama campaign. And if you thought that campaign ended in 2012, think again.

When reading the Times’ lament, it’s important to remember that Obama has achieved nearly everything he set out to do. He got his massive “stimulus” boondoggle, which effectively raised baseline federal spending by nearly $1 trillion; he got his huge tax hikes on the “rich”; and he rammed through the biggest tax hike of all, ObamaCare. None of those things buoyed the economy or helped the “middle class” – in fact, all three things significantly hurt and penalized the average American. Yet, significantly, there’s one word entirely absent in the Times’ 1,700-word article: “Obama.”

Instead, the Times focuses blame on things like education – “educational attainment in the United States has risen far more slowly than in much of the industrialized world over the last three decades, making it harder for the American economy to maintain its share of highly skilled, well-paying jobs.” That’s certainly not for a lack of spending. The U.S. spends more on education now than ever before, while achievement remains roughly unchanged. Yet the answer from the Left is always the same: Spend even more.

Primarily, however, the Times blames insufficient income redistribution. No kidding – an Obama campaign slogan now counts as news analysis. “[T]he American rich pay lower taxes than the rich in many other places, and the United States does not redistribute as much income to the poor as other countries do. As a result, inequality in disposable income is sharply higher in the United States than elsewhere.” As it stands now, the top 1% of income earners pay nearly 40% of income taxes, while the bottom 50% pay 2% of income taxes. In fact, the top 1% pays more than the bottom 90%. Nearly 50 million Americans are on food stamps, not to mention those on other welfare programs or unemployment benefits. That’s a substantial amount of redistribution. But the Times’ solution is to be more like Canada and Europe.

Mysteriously absent from the article is any mention of cost of living compared to other nations, or how high a standard of living Americans generally have. The truth is that even the poor in this country have things the rich in years past could only dream of. A little perspective is needed, not just leftist arrested development and the politics of envy.

To sum up, we’ll close with this comment from columnist Burt Prelutsky: “A reader of mine we’ll call Ray sent me six contradictions that sum up the thinking of Progressives, or at least what passes for thinking in those bizarre quarters. It begins: ‘One, America is capitalist and greedy, and yet half the population is subsidized. Two, half the population is subsidized, yet they regard themselves as victims. Three, they think they are victims, yet their representatives run the government. Four, their representatives run the government, yet the poor keep getting poorer. Five, the poor keep getting poorer, yet they have things that people in other countries only dream about. Six, they have things that people in other countries only dream about, yet they want America to be more like those other countries.’”

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