Johnson City Press Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Opinion

Income inequality

February 5th, 2014 8:58 am by A.G. JONES

Income inequality

I appreciate that the Press endeavors to publish a balanced mix of political viewpoints, but do we really need more hollow clichés like Ann McFeatters’ column (Jan. 30) on income inequality?
She tells us that the worst country in the world for income inequality is the United States. What she doesn’t tell us is that census data and surveys by federal agencies show that the typical American living below the poverty level in 2013 lives in a house or apartment that is in good repair, equipped with air-conditioning and cable TV and larger than the home of the average non-poor French, German or British.
The truth is that how much the people at the top have or make says nothing about how well the people at the bottom are doing. The size of the gap says nothing about the prosperity of the poor.
I found it especially ironic that she claims President Obama “wants to equalize education opportunity so that the poor have an equal chance at being as well educated as the rich.” But haven’t President Obama and his administration, along with the majority of Democratic lawmakers, consistently opposed any school voucher efforts?
She admits in closing that America “has done so much to show the world how to create prosperity,” and hopes that America will lead the way in solving the disparity of income problem. How she thinks that will happen is not clear.
Some economic experts believe the overwhelming U.S. debt poses a greater barrier to economic opportunity that “income inequality” does.
It is worth noting that Lyndon Johnson in his 1964 State of the Union speech famously declared the war on poverty. Fifty years and $20.7 trillion later (valued in 2011 dollars), the poverty level is essentially unchanged at 15 percent.
A.G. JONES
Johnson City

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