Recently, in the Albuquerque Journal and then in the Las Cruces Sun-News, a column I wrote on inequality and poverty was published. In it, I made the case that inequality is an amorphous and hard-to-attack problem, but poverty is clearly defined and worth our attention. Furthermore, poverty is best addressed through free markets and limited government.
Needless to say, the column received a strong response. In today’s Journal, my old debate opponent Nick Estes argued that jobs and economic growth are needed to cure inequality. First off, I agree with Nick that economic growth is imperative for raising living standards across all income levels. The main difference we have is that he sees government economic stimulus as the best means of achieving that end. As the chart below illustrates, federal government spending is at historically-high levels as a percentage of GDP:
Estes is simply trapped in the Keynesian mindset that government spending is needed to “prime the pump” when it comes to our economy when in reality, government diverts resources away from the private sector and into less beneficial, government programs. And, if federal spending helped reduce inequality as Estes posits, we’d see greater equality, not greater inequality.
Another response came in the form of a letter to the editor in the Sun-News. The writer basically argues that because we have a progressive federal tax system and rich people who believe that income inequality is important. The author seemingly claims that raising the minimum wage will have a dramatic, positive impact in terms of reduced inequality.
Lastly, there has been an ongoing discussion in the Albuquerque Journal’s Business Outlook section in which I was accused of not backing up my writing with data. I find that suggestion to be laughable. All this opposition is wonderful. It is a sign that my work is hitting its mark and forcing people to think about the issues. In other words, I’m doing my job.