Proposition: Is Income Inequality a Problem In the United States?

Proposition: Income Inequality Is A Problem In the United States


About Voices of Reason

Apr 16, 2011

Affirming the Proposition: Income Inequality is a Problem in the United States (Closing Statement)

In my original post, I argued that income inequality was a problem because “60% of the difference in average income between 1979 and 2007 is accounted for by the top 1 percent of households” and that “most American households have seen little gain in income in the last three decades despite rising productivity growth.” Instead of directly refuting my claims, Mr. Weinberger has gone on the offensive, accusing me of presenting inaccurate statistics, arguing that inequality estimates are “exaggerated”, and presenting alternate data in an attempt to show that income inequality doesn’t matter.

Negating the Proposition: Why Does Income Inequality Matter (Closing Statement)?


The fundamental point about income inequality remains: All income groups have made solid economic gains over the past few decades, and nothing in Mr. Mitchell’s arguments indicates otherwise.


In the opening paragraph of his rebuttal, Mr. Mitchell states that questioning why income inequality matters if all income levels are gaining is “a poor way of framing the argument as it makes magnitude irrelevant. Indeed, following Mr. Weinberger’s logic, the top 1% could be taking home $0.99 of every dollar the entire country earns, essentially turning our society into an oligarchy, yet Mr. Weinberger would ask what the problem is.”

Apr 1, 2011

Affirming the Proposition: Income Inequality is a Problem in the United States (Rebuttal)

In Mr. Weinberger’s opening statement, he argues that not only is income inequality overstated, but it isn’t even a problem. He asks, “If all income levels are gaining, why does income inequality matter?” As I will illustrate, this is a poor way of framing the argument as it makes magnitude irrelevant. Indeed, following Mr. Weinberger’s logic, the top 1% could be taking home $0.99 of every dollar the entire country earns, essentially turning our society into an oligarchy, yet Mr. Weinberger would ask what the problem is.

Negating the Proposition: Why Does Income Inequality Matter (Rebuttal)?

In his post arguing that income inequality is a problem, Mr. Mitchell charges that “most American households have seen little gain in income in the last three decades despite rising productivity growth.” He contends that from 1947-1973 there was “broad-based prosperity” because “incomes of virtually all Americans grew at around 2.5% annually.” Furthermore, he asserts, “income growth in the 1970s and 1980s was hardly noticeable and was actually negative for 60% of the population during the Bush years.”

Mar 11, 2011

Affirming the Proposition: Income Inequality is a Problem in the United States (Opening Statement)

Let me begin by proving that income inequality in fact exists. After nearly thirty years of broad-based prosperity wherein the incomes of virtually all Americans grew at around 2.5% annually, a new growth pattern emerged after 1979 that had not been seen since the Gilded Age.

Negating the Proposition: Why Does Income Inequality Matter? (Opening Statement)



When it comes to income inequality, the left argues that since 1979 the top ten percent of taxpayers are making an unfairly large portion of total U.S. income. This narrative is advanced by the widely accepted work of Thomas Piketty and Emanual Saez, showing that “the top 1 percent of Americans now receive 15 percent of all income, up from about 8 percent in the 1960s and 70s.” 

Mar 10, 2011

About Voices of Reason

Hello and welcome to Voices of Reason. The purpose of this blog is for its contributors, David Weinberger (a conservative) and Tim Mitchell (a liberal), to debate any and all current-day issues, ranging from social policy to economic policy to foreign policy, or anything in between.

Feb 11, 2011

About David Weinberger

David Weinberger is a conservative from Washington, D.C. He holds a B.A. in Business and Spanish from The University of St. Thomas and is the Communications Coordinator at The Heritage Foundation. His views, however, are his own, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Heritage Foundation.

About Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell is an economic and political liberal from Washington State. He holds a B.A. in Economics from Willamette University.