About That Income Inequality Thang...

Back in the 480s B.C., word was coming down in Greece that the Persians under King Xerxes were planning to take their revenge against the Greeks for the Persian loss in the war a few years earlier. The Athenian statesman Themistocles did what many Greek politicians did, headed to Delphi to consult the Oracle on what could be done. In a nutshell, the Oracle told Themistocles the Athenians could only survive if they built a wooden wall that could be used to repulse the Persian horde. Themistocles brought this news back, and the Athenian government contemplated building a wooden wall around the city. Themistocles stated he believed the Oracle meant for the Athenians to increase the size of their potent navy. The Athenians were convinced and went to work; the rest is history. Following the inspiring last stand of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae and the burning of Athens by the Persians, the improved and enlarged Athenian navy wrecked the Persian fleet at Salamis, which meant the Persians couldn’t resupply their huge army and they were forced to retreat back into Asia (they left a token force in Greece, which was destroyed in two battles the following year).

Returning to the present, various Democrats are busy pursuing a fiction, one on par with the breadth (but not the quality) of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, called “income inequality”. And it is a fiction. Even the CBO has gotten into the act with a recent “study” being cited by many as “proof” of this “income inequality”. Just as Democrats have lied about Bush tax rate cuts of 2001 and 2003, they are using this fiction to mislead the American people about the effects of the flatter tax proposals from some of the 2012 GOP Presidential candidates. However, the historical record has shown that the Oracle of Delphi had a better track record of predicting the outcome of certain events than these Democrats.

Looking strictly at the numbers, income inequality does exist. There is always a top 1% of income earners and various percentages of the rest of the income earners. That’s been true since the dawn of history. It even exists in the Marxist “utopias” of Cuba and North Korea, although the governments running those countries created more income equality than the U.S. ever had; the 1%, the members of the Communist Party, own everything, while the 99% of the populations of those countries are dirt poor and starving. And that’s the problem; these numbers can be used to highlight anything.

Here’s another problem with the myth of “income inequaltiy” as presented by the Democrats. Not one of them knows all the names of those they call the “1%”. What they don’t tell you is that the names have changed over that time. The chart presented by the CBO in the above link uses data falling between and including 1979 and 2007. I know of three people who were either at or near the bottom quintiles during the early years specified in that chart and are now either in the upper quintiles or part of the “1%”: me, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama.

I graduated college in 1984 and immediately took a job as a mainframe systems programmer for $23,000; while it was a lot more than minimum wage, it was barely enough to be able to maintain a car payment and pay my student loans (I lived at home for a couple of years after beginning work). While not part of the “1%”, the increases in incomes over these past 27 years have moved me into the top 10% of U.S. income earners.

While Steve Jobs career started a little bit earlier than 1979, he too started from a blue-collar background and next to nothing but his brain. By the time of his death a few weeks ago, there is no doubt he was a member of the “1%” club.

And then there is one of the purveyors of the “income inequality” myth, President Barack Obama. I have no doubt he didn’t earn much more than money to live on while a community organizer in Chicago. 2 books and 3 political positions later and Obama is also part of the “1%”.

This is the reason the idea of “income inequality” and the “1%”, as explained by Democrats, is a myth. The three people above are just a blip of those who have used whatever talents they have to improve their financial positions for themselves and their families. Conversely, there have been many who were top income earners and then fell on hard times. The Democrats rely on people believing everything is static, that things never change. The truth is everything is fluid, ever changing. The “1%” of yesterday may include many who have remained there, but also includes those who have entered into it and those who left for whatever reasons.

Income inequality, as shown by the numbers, does exist. It has existed everywhere. The myth is how Democrats have used it and turned it into a false political issue.

Cross-posted at Scipio the Metalcon.