Inequality Has Not Increased If Government Transfer Payments Are Included in Income

(p. C10) This book—by Auburn University economist Bob Ekelund, economist and consultant John Early, and former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm—shows that the political debate over inequality since the 1960s has had almost nothing to do with reality.   . . .   When the Census Bureau, which provides the source data everyone uses for inequality, calculates income, it counts only cash income. Nearly every transfer payment—money redistributed by the government for the purpose of attacking poverty—is left out! Once you include that money, the bottom half of the income distribution has almost exactly the same income from top to bottom. “The Myth of American Inequality” is in my view the most important book published this year.

For the full review, see:

Kevin Hassett. “12 Months of Reading; Kevin Hassett.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, Dec. 10, 2021): C10.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date December 8, 2022, and has the title “Who Read What in 2022: Political and Business Leaders.”)

The book praised by Kevin Hassett is:

Gramm, Phil, Robert Ekelund, and John Early. The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2022.

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