Irwin Stelzer in the Weekly Standard recaps the state of the economy at year’s end. He finds that the economy “is roaring ahead at a pace that so amazes observers they are guessing it will slow a bit in the new year. That would still mean an economy growing fast enough to satisfy those in charge of George W. Bush’s reelection campaign.” Citing Gregg Easterbrook’s new book “The Progress Paradox,” Stelzer points out that it is not just the rich who got richer in 2003. He acknowledges that poverty remains but points to data gathered by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas showing that “over 40 percent of America’s poor own their own homes, 72 percent have washing machines, 60 percent own microwave ovens, 92 percent have color television sets, half have air conditioners, and 72 percent own one or more cars.”
Stelzer acknowledges that the statistics show a rise in inequality. But this is due to new immigrants, legal and illegal. Again relying on Easterbrook, Stelzer says that the increase in inequality disappears when these folks are excluded from the data.
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