First, regarding the politics on this issue, some at the extreme end of the political spectrum argue that almost any level of economic inequality is automatically unfair, a moral flaw and societal injustice that should be corrected by the politicians, by public policies that redistribute wealth and income.
Here, for example, is the analysis by Paul Buchheit, self-described as a college teacher and founder of UsAgainstGreed.org, as recently published at alternet.org: “Inequality is a cancer on society, here in the U.S. and across the globe. It keeps growing. But humanity seems helpless against it, as if it’s an alien force that no one understands, even as the life is being gradually drained from its victims.”
That’s some mighty heavy negativity. Imagine rolling out of bed with a freshman hangover and having Buchheit for an 8 a.m. class: “Good morning fellow victims, helpless prey. The alien vampires are bigger this morning than ever and we’re totally powerless as Earthlings to stop them.”
It sounds like the script from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Other critics of inequality, perhaps less collectivist and more lighthearted, argue that it is the extreme levels of inequality that are inherently bad.
Others contend that it is inescapably a sign of economic unfairness and unmitigated policy failures if the degree of wealth and income inequality is growing.
All those assumptions are wrong.
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