Mr. Will cited a working paper that takes exception to what has become the prevalent view that the top 1 percent have claimed an increasing share of national income. The paper by Gerald Auten and David Splinter, economists at the Treasury Department and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, respectively, adjusts for taxes and transfers, including Social Security, the earned-income tax credit, Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps. As the Economist points out, without these adjustments, Mr. Auten and Mr. Splinter find that the top 1 percent’s share of pretax income has risen since the 1960s.
The irony is that Mr. Will, who, as usual, argued against “progressives” who desire to allocate government resources for the public good, seemed to belittle the notion of higher income inequality by citing a study that, in fact, suggests that it is government intervention that has kept higher inequality in check. As I said, I almost missed it!
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