Income Inequality: Overblown
While it is true that the cash explicitly paid to employees has become more unequal over the last generation, the implication that labor markets are not working well and that government should alter labor market outcomes does not necessarily follow. A more benign explanation for the change in cash compensation over a generation is the dramatic increase in health insurance costs. …
If one analyzes data on only working-age individuals (age 25–61), inflation-adjusted real pre-tax, post-cash-transfer money income grew 1.9 percent and 10.5 percent respectively for the first (poorest) and 10th (richest) deciles from 1995 to 2008. But if one adds the value of health insurance, the first (poorest) decile grew 12.3 percent while the top decile grew 11.7 percent.
[T]he growth in compensation by earnings decile (from the 30th to the 99th) averages 35 percent [from 1999 to 2006], with 41 percent growth at the 30th percentile (workers earning $10–$14 an hour) and only 35.8 percent growth at the 99th percentile (workers earning $59–$80 an hour).
Because expenditures on health care are increasing so rapidly and because so much of the cost of health care is paid for by employers or government, discussions about rising inequality that only consider cash income provide a misleading view of trends in inequality. When health insurance expenditures are added to household cash income, the increases in inequality from 1995 to 2008 are completely offset.
When You’ve Lost Rubin and Kristol…
… You’ve lost the battle. Here’s Jennifer Rubin a news cycle ago, quoting Bill Kristol on the Virginia GOP’s loyalty oath:
A final word about the so-called loyalty oath. Bill Kristol writes: “The Virginia Republican Party is apparently planning to require voters in the March 6 Virginia GOP presidential primary to sign a form that says, “I, the undersigned, pledge that I intend to support the nominee of the Republican Party for president.” This is stupid, counterproductive, and offensive for several reasons so obvious that I won’t even bother to mention them. Bob Marshall, a conservative GOP leader in the house of delegates, has come out against the pledge. Shouldn’t our the Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, stop this idiocy? Shouldn’t Mitt Romney and Ron Paul — the two candidates who are on the Virginia ballot, neither of whom could possibly approve of such a blind loyalty pledge — ask the party to withdraw it?”
Lo and behold! — “GOP Chairman Asks Party to Reconsider Loyalty Oath.”
The anyone-but-Romney movement has now started a petition to draft Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell into the presidential race.
World’s Smartest Criminals Dept.
Daniel Wolfrey of Louisa was arrested for carjacking at police HQ in Henrico:
Police said Wolfrey was arrested after he came to the police station and asked why security camera photos of him were being shown on television.
Well, THAT Worked Out Well…
A bumper sticker prompted members of the hard-line Islamic Reform Movement to attack several members of the GKI Yasmin church on Sunday.
The bumper sticker, on the back of a church member’s car, said, “We need a friendly Islam, not an angry Islam.”
You Know You’re an Econo-Geek When… .
… You see this headline …
… and your first thought is …
… rather than:
More on NPR Bias…
… From NPR’s Ombudsman:
In a spot for NPR newscasts on June 22, when Utahans were going to the polls, Berkes used the term “ultra-conservative” …
When Richard Walker of Arlington, VA, heard the hourly news report, the term “‘ultra-conservative” jumped out at him.
“You called the two Republican candidates in Utah ‘ultra-conservatives,’” wrote Walker. “Does NPR ever call a candidate an ‘ultra-liberal’? Barbara Lee? Dennis Kucinich? Bernie Sanders? Or are only conservatives ‘ultra’ in NPR’s world?”
Almost, but not quite. NPR’s librarian Katie Daugert came up with 8 examples of groups or people being described as “ultra-liberal” in the last 5 years. In 2 cases, the term was used by NPR staffers; other uses were by guests or commentators.
By contrast, the term “ultra-conservative” appeared on air 42 times in the last 5 years. NPR staffers used it 17 times, and others used it 24 times.
17-2. There you have it!