Open Thread: Three Inconvenient Truths for Occupy Wall Street
While the Occupy Wall Street protesters may not have accomplished much in the way political change, they are taking credit for bringing the topic of income inequality to the national stage. They are not completely wrong about incomes, either. American incomes have grown more unequal, but as AEI's Nick Schulz explained at the Los Angeles Times, there are also three inconvenient truths about income inequality for the OWS movement.
What do you think? Are there any "inconvenient truths" you would add to the list? Check out Schulz's list after the break, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
As protestors would contend, the rich are getting richer, which has widened the gap of income inequality. According to Schulz, "Two forces — globalization and advanced technology — have combined to heap enormous rewards on the top of the income distribution." This is especially apparent in the "bluest" areas of the country, including New York, Washington, Chicago, and California. However, the proposed remedy, to tax the rich even more and redistribute their wealth to lower income people, has a threshold. Even New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been critical of new taxes in New York, fearing a grim economic future if the state continues raising taxes and being anti-business.
A second problem, at the opposite end of the spectrum, is adding large pools of unskilled immigrants to the labor pool. Doing so inevitably "depresses the wages of the native born at the low end of the income distribution." While there is a wide range of views on immigration, many of the OWS protestors support the welfare of undocumented immigrants, a large driver in creating the very income inequality they denounce.
Finally, the collapse of stable family units has also widened economic inequality. With the growth in single-mother households without two incomes supporting the family, there has been an explosion in economic disparities. In fact, "Social scientists routinely find that individuals raised in intact families are generally better equipped to thrive in the economy. Today's 99% is teeming with tens of millions of Americans who were not raised in a stable home environment, and their earnings potential is compromised as a result." Of course, there is no easy fix to this cultural problem, but it is unlikely that OWS has proposed any solutions to fix it.