With his typically inimitable and lucid prose, James Q. Wilson appears in today’s Outlook section of the Washington Post today with a clear-eyed deconstruction of the whole inequality blather of the left: “Angry About Inequality? Don’t Blame the Rich.” Aw, what fun is that?
There’s a lot packed into this relatively short article, so you should read the whole thing. But I like the punch line to this paragraph:
Income inequality has increased in this country and in practically every European nation in recent decades. The best measure of that change is the Gini index, named after the Italian statistician Corrado Gini, who designed it in 1912. The index values vary between zero, when everyone has exactly the same income, and 1, when one person has all of the income and everybody else has none. In mid-1970s America, the index was 0.316, but it had reached 0.378 by the late 2000s. One of the few nations to see its Gini value fall was Greece, which went from 0.413 in the 1970s to 0.307 in the late 2000s. So Greece seems to be reducing income inequality — but with little to buy, riots in the streets and economic opportunity largely limited to those partaking in corruption, the nation is hardly a model for anyone’s economy.
Oh goody: Greece is the only nation that the Occupy Wall Street crowd probably approves of right now. That’s working out real well for everybody.
I recall that William F. Buckley Jr. used to like to quote the words of the socialist Amnon Rubinstein, who once admitted in debate: “On the whole, those systems that have put liberty ahead of equality have done better by equality than those that have put equality above liberty.”
Someone needs to tell this to the President.