The First Rule Of The One Percent Is Do Not Talk About The One Percent

November 21, 2011 2:04 pm ET — Jamison Foser

The Heritage Foundation, the unofficial think tank of the One Percent, is not happy that the Congressional Budget Office has released an analysis showing ever-increasing income inequality. Under the headline "What's Going on Inside the CBO's Recent Income Distribution Analysis?" William Beach, director of Heritage's Center for Data Analysis, complains:

On October 25, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published an analysis of changes in the distribution of household income between 1979 and 2007. CBO argues that the 62 percent gain in average household income over this 28-year period mostly went to households in the top 20 percent of the income distribution, where average income grew by 65 percent. Average household income in the top 1 percent of the distribution grew by 275 percent after taxes. Those households in the bottom 20 percent of all households saw income gains of 18 percent across this period. [...]

This year's report—like last year's—also skates around a clear statement of exactly why CBO is interested in the changing distribution of income at all: Is the CBO describing changes in the distribution of income with a vision of a "correct" distribution in mind, or is it merely giving us the latest statistics without any notion of what we should do with them?

Most people, upon learning that average household income for the top one percent grew 15 times as fast as average income for the bottom 20 percent, probably wonder what can be done to reverse this trend. At Heritage Foundation, they wonder why anyone would talk about such things.

Which isn't to say that Heritage is apathetic about income inequality. It isn't that they don't care — it's that they like rising inequality:

What is CBO's point? While it might seem odd to ask this question in today's highly charged debate over the distribution of income, CBO attempts to stay above the fray. Unfortunately, its analysis clearly implies that growing unevenness in the distribution is a bad thing.

See, it isn't the rising inequality that's unfortunate — the suggestion that rising inequality is a bad thing is unfortunate. That echoes a Heritage argument last week that "economic inequality is not necessarily an injustice, but rather a necessary component of any prosperous society."

Given Heritage's position on economic inequality, it's little wonder they'd rather not talk about it at all: 'You're all going to have to suffer so a few can prosper' isn't a very convincing message.

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