I'm thinking of carrying Wall Street Journal economic writer Stephen Moore's latest column in my pocket. Then when leftists tell me about "equality," and "income disparity," I can take it out, roll it up, and beat them across the nose with it shouting, "What did you do? What did you do?" Asking them to read it would probably be a waste of time.
The point of the piece is that "those who were most likely to vote for Barack Obama in 2012 were members of demographic groups most likely to have suffered the steepest income declines," since he took office. Which is to say that young people, single women, those with only a high school diploma or less, blacks and Hispanics have all gotten the business end of the O shaft.
Steve writes with great clarity so there's no point in my rephrasing him. Read this:
According to the Sentier research, households headed by single women, with and without children present, saw their incomes fall by roughly 7%. Those under age 25 experienced an income decline of 9.6%. Black heads of households saw their income tumble by 10.9%, while Hispanic heads-of-households' income fell 4.5%, slightly more than the national average. The incomes of workers with a high-school diploma or less fell by about 8% (-6.9% for those with less than a high-school diploma and -9.3% for those with only a high-school diploma).
To put that into dollar terms, in the four years between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and June of this year, median black household income fell by just over $4,000, Hispanic households lost $2,000 and female-headed households lost $2,300.
The unemployment numbers show pretty much the same pattern. July's Bureau of Labor Statistics data (the most recent available) show a national unemployment rate of 7.4%. The highest jobless rates by far are for key components of the Obama voter bloc: blacks (12.6%), Hispanics (9.4%), those with less than a high-school diploma (11%) and teens (23.7%).
This is a stunning reversal of the progress for these groups during the expansions of the 1980s and 1990s, and even through the start of the 2008 recession. Census data reveal that from 1981-2008 the biggest income gains were for black women, 81%; followed by white women, 67%; followed by black men, 31%; and white males at 8%.
In other words, the gender and racial income gaps shrank by more than in any period in American history during the Reagan boom of the 1980s and the Clinton boom of the 1990s. Women and blacks continued to make economic progress during the mini-Bush expansion from 2002-07. "Income inequality" has been exacerbated during the Obama era.
The whole gobsmacking thing is here.
People like me tend to make esoteric arguments for the free market — private property is the basis of freedom, equality is the trait of slaves and so on. But it is also true that, with light, smart regulation, free markets work better than anything else. For those blacks, Hispanics, young people and single women who were convinced otherwise? Wakey-wakey, sweethearts. You've been had.