Perception v. facts on income inequality | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Perception v. facts on income inequality

Posted By on Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 6:52 AM

Facts don't lie. The middle class is shrinking. Income inequality is rising. The rich are vastly richer. The poor are vastly poorer.

BUT ... this is the critical political finding — there's been little change in the percentage of Americans who think they are among the "haves" (about 60 percent) and those who think they are "have nots" (about a third).

It is unfortunate, Charles Blow writes in the Times, because income inequality threatens recovery. Poor, unemployed people don't have money to spend to fuel economic expansion. Failure to recognize and address the growing problem has consequences.

Yet another Gallup report issued Friday found that most Americans now say that the fact that some people in the U.S. are rich and others are poor does not represent a problem but is an acceptable part of our economic system.

If denial is a river, it runs through doomed societies.

I credit my old friend, professional pollster Ernie Oakleaf, for educating me years ago on the ambiguity of middle class. What income, exactly, defines "middle class?" He said opinion surveys found repeatedly that the majority of people — covering a broad economic scale — consider themselves to be middle class. Thus the popularity of the phrase among politicians.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (12)

Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-12 of 12

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • What those Confederate monuments are about: Slavery

    The Democratic Party has likely chosen a political loser in a call for removal of Confederate memorials from public grounds, but it doesn't mean the sentiment is wrong. They are tributes to the fight to preserve slavery, no more or less.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • Arkansas unemployment rate remains at record low

    The unemployment rate in Arkansas in July was again 3.4 percent, a record low level in place since May. The labor force added more than 9,000 jobs.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • Arkansas competes for auto plant

    USA Today reports that Arkansas is one of 15 states vying for a $1.6 billion auto plant, a joint venture by Toyota and Mazda that could employ 4,000.
    • Aug 18, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Al Gore remembers Dale Bumpers

    Former Vice President Al Gore, a former U.S. Senate colleague of Dale Bumpers, sent a statement on Bumpers' death Friday:
    • Jan 3, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation