September 29, 2012
GINI, GINI, WHO CAN I TURN TO? Mickey Kaus:
Shorter NYT: The debate over income inequality, the defining issue of our time, the touchstone that lets liberals know they’re liberals, takes up vast amounts of media space and earns big advances for my friends, is really about whether government will reduce the Gini coefficient of income inequality by 23% (Bush) or 25% (Obama). … A generation of respectable leftish intellectuals, at the Times and elsewhere, have succeeded in making presidential politics seem like faculty politics. …
P.S.: Look at the graph accompanying Eduardo Porter’s article. Even after the most ambitious redistribution scheme Obama might implement, is there any chance of restoring the relative after-tax “equality” of, say, the early Reagan years? Weren’t Democrats complaining about income inequality back then, too? … The alternative: Stop obsessing about Gini indexes of money equality! Start worrying about the traditional American ideal of social equality (which income inequality affects, as only one of many factors). You knew I’d say that–but Tim Noah and William Voegeli are saying it too.
The problem is, an emphasis on social equality would conflict with oikophobia-driven class distinctions.