A new study says much of the rise in inequality is an illusion. Should you believe it?

Jul 2014
16,076
10,375
massachusetts
The study has been out for a couple of years, and it hasn't been repeated, it's probably the result of faulty methodology.
 
Apr 2019
4,578
768
America

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
70,643
31,084
Colorado
One study out of ... who knows how many casts doubt on rising income inequality, just the stuff that sustains minds prone to see conspiracies everywhere.

US income inequality jumps to highest level ever recorded
Income inequality last year reached its highest level in more than half a century, as a record-long economic expansion continued to disproportionately benefit some of the wealthiest Americans.​
A key measure of wealth distribution jumped to 0.485 in 2018, the Census Bureau said Thursday, its highest reading since the so-called Gini index was started in 1967. The gauge, which uses a scale of 0 to 1, stood at 0.482 a year earlier.​
Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia saw income inequality rise significantly last year. Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico saw the highest Gini index readings, while Utah was among the lowest.​
Real median household income rose by 0.8%, to $61,937, in 2018, a slightly smaller increase than in the three previous years, the Census Bureau said. The economy has expanded steadily over the past decade, which has helped to push the unemployment rate to historic lows.
But a majority of growth has gone to higher-income earners and the owners of financial instruments, said Timothy Smeeding, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who studies poverty and economic mobility.​
"Wages remain low, there is a lack of childcare for single-parent families, and so on. Work alone won't solve poverty — unless wages and earnings pick up substantially," he said.​


I can testify to this:

Average hourly earnings for non-management private-sector workers in July were $22.65, up 3 cents from June and 2.7% above the average wage from a year earlier, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s in line with average wage growth over the past five years: Year-over-year growth has mostly ranged between 2% and 3% since the beginning of 2013. But in the years just before the 2007-08 financial collapse, average hourly earnings often increased by around 4% year-over-year. And during the high-inflation years of the 1970s and early 1980s, average wages commonly jumped 7%, 8% or even 9% year-over-year.​
After adjusting for inflation, however, today’s average hourly wage has just about the same purchasing power it did in 1978, following a long slide in the 1980s and early 1990s and bumpy, inconsistent growth since then. In fact, in real terms average hourly earnings peaked more than 45 years ago: The $4.03-an-hour rate recorded in January 1973 had the same purchasing power that $23.68 would today.​


In January 1973 I was earning $4.25/hr. Gasoline was around $0.35/gal. My nice one-bedroom apartment with a sweet balcony in a really nice garden apartment project, with two pools, saunas, nice clubhouse, covered parking, was $140/mo. all utilities except telephone paid. I had cash in the bank and in my pocket. In 1972, my university tuition had been $50/semester.
 
Feb 2007
6,223
3,962
USA
One study out of ... who knows how many casts doubt on rising income inequality, just the stuff that sustains minds prone to see conspiracies everywhere.

US income inequality jumps to highest level ever recorded
Income inequality last year reached its highest level in more than half a century, as a record-long economic expansion continued to disproportionately benefit some of the wealthiest Americans.​
A key measure of wealth distribution jumped to 0.485 in 2018, the Census Bureau said Thursday, its highest reading since the so-called Gini index was started in 1967. The gauge, which uses a scale of 0 to 1, stood at 0.482 a year earlier.​
Alabama, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia saw income inequality rise significantly last year. Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico saw the highest Gini index readings, while Utah was among the lowest.​
Real median household income rose by 0.8%, to $61,937, in 2018, a slightly smaller increase than in the three previous years, the Census Bureau said. The economy has expanded steadily over the past decade, which has helped to push the unemployment rate to historic lows.
But a majority of growth has gone to higher-income earners and the owners of financial instruments, said Timothy Smeeding, a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who studies poverty and economic mobility.​
"Wages remain low, there is a lack of childcare for single-parent families, and so on. Work alone won't solve poverty — unless wages and earnings pick up substantially," he said.​


I can testify to this:

Average hourly earnings for non-management private-sector workers in July were $22.65, up 3 cents from June and 2.7% above the average wage from a year earlier, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s in line with average wage growth over the past five years: Year-over-year growth has mostly ranged between 2% and 3% since the beginning of 2013. But in the years just before the 2007-08 financial collapse, average hourly earnings often increased by around 4% year-over-year. And during the high-inflation years of the 1970s and early 1980s, average wages commonly jumped 7%, 8% or even 9% year-over-year.​
After adjusting for inflation, however, today’s average hourly wage has just about the same purchasing power it did in 1978, following a long slide in the 1980s and early 1990s and bumpy, inconsistent growth since then. In fact, in real terms average hourly earnings peaked more than 45 years ago: The $4.03-an-hour rate recorded in January 1973 had the same purchasing power that $23.68 would today.​


In January 1973 I was earning $4.25/hr. Gasoline was around $0.35/gal. My nice one-bedroom apartment with a sweet balcony in a really nice garden apartment project, with two pools, saunas, nice clubhouse, covered parking, was $140/mo. all utilities except telephone paid. I had cash in the bank and in my pocket. In 1972, my university tuition had been $50/semester.
I believe that seemingly ever-decreasing disposable income in the hands of the majority of the population is a recipe for long-term economic decline. Indeed, it's the vast majority of the population, rather than a small fraction of the population, who buy an extra car, eat out more often, take an extra vacation, buy extra toys for their kids, etc., who contribute the most to make an economy boom, so to speak. And, when that majority of the population cannot do those sort of actions, everyone ends up suffering long-term...even I believe that small fraction of the population, long-term.