Debating the Income Gap at Anchorrising and WSJ

Things are shaking over at, where “klaus,” a frequent commenter here at Kmareka, is having it out with them about whether the Bush tax cuts have improved our economy.

In a similar, although much more credentially-laden debate, Heather Boushey and Russell Roberts argue about the reasons for and repercussions of the growing income gap in the United States. I would agree with Mitchell Freedman regarding this debate, and would say that similar tactics were employed against “klaus” in his debate with the Anchorrising folks:

[This debate] highlights how elitist apologists for the super rich play a semantic game not unlike a lawyer defending a person accused of a crime: by shallow anecdotes, diversionary arguments, and sophistry designed to create doubt against a more likely truth.

In particular, the issue of using personal anecdote to counter economic data is played out in both the Anchorrising debate and the WSJ debate.

Obviously, the Wall Street Journal does a far more comprehensive job of addressing the question of income inequality, but when I read the debate at Anchorrising, I was immediately reminded of the debate at WSJ that I had read over two months ago. Both have compelling information, and both ask the reader to question and analyze the evidence people present to support their assertions.

One thought on “Debating the Income Gap at Anchorrising and WSJ

  1. An advanced finance degree is not needed to learn how financial data can be skewed.

    If 10,000 $50,000 a year workers are all rehired at $35,000 then unemployment levels remain the same.

    If more investment funds are available due to the tax cuts for the most wealthy who earn a disproportionate share of their wealth from investments, then yes overall public company indicators are also stronger.

    But if you look at layers among the low and middle income, you find no real inflation adjusted earnings changes in the past 20 years and actual loss in discretionary income due to higher prices and more local taxes. This is compounded by use of home equity to cover revolving (credit card) debt, which in turn was used to cover the gap between take home pay and living expenses. Higher interest rates won’t help either.

    Cherry picking data is misleading.

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