Income Equality!

In Columns by Hal PetersonLeave a Comment

A drawing on top of a recent WSJ column shows a two person bicycle with the man up front pumping hard (and sweating) with the man on the second seat, facing backwards, sipping a soda. The title, “How Income Equality Helped Trump.” The authors are former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Phil Gramm, and Bob Ekelund, Jr. professor emeritus at Auburn University. Their analysis deals with a new study published by the Cato Institute by John F. Early, a former assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I am absolutely intrigued by their inarguable summary finding that “hardworking, tax paying, middle-income and lower-middle-income family efforts left them little better off than the growing number of recipients receiving government transfers.” The soda shown is affordable with roughly $1trillion in social-welfare spending including Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax, and 85 other federal payments and services, along with similar state and local income supplements readily available. .

Bottom line, 60% of Americans have (1) virtually the same standard of living despite dramatic differences in the effort they exert, and income they generate, (2) the boom in government benefits and the decline of economic growth has all but eliminated the rewards that middle income Americans traditionally received for working hard.”  The point made. Shifting demographics, inconceivable actions, and political ineptitude, secured Trump’s election.

With our money in mind let’s dig a little deeper. You may have read that a powerful state senator held the approval of the state budget hostage forcing leadership to accede to his demand to shield yeshivas from legally mandated curriculum oversight. What you probably do not know, once the dust settled down, GOP leadership (for reasons you can only imagine) showered $1.2 million in grants to the senator’s district for two dozen programs, and lobbyist’s that will keep Albany from enforcing stricter academic standards.  Only four other senators, all Republicans, secured more than $500,000 for their districts.

To say tax paying, middle-income and lower-middle-income families are being had, is an understatement.

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