Busting Myths about Income Inequality by Chelsea German

Politicians speak often about income inequality. But that doesn’t mean they are well-informed. Indeed, they propagate four myths about the issue.

  1. Most often, those vying for elected office describe income inequality as static — as though the people who make up each income group do not change.
    The “top 1 percent” or the “top 10 percent” of income-earners are portrayed as exclusive clubs that seldom accept new members or see old and current members leave. No fluidity, no change.
  2. Political figures also have a tendency only to blame income inequality on factors like trade, immigration, an insufficiently high minimum wage, inadequate taxes on the wealthy, or the vague concept of “greed.”
  3. They typically ignore the sizeable role of choices under an individual’s control.
  4. They downplay the role of regressive government regulations.

Reality is much more interesting than soundbites.

Americans often move between different income brackets over the course of their lives. Indeed, over 50 percent of Americans find themselves among the top 10 percent of income-earners for at least one year during their working lives, and over 11 percent of Americans will be counted among the top 1 percent of income-earners for at least one year.

Fortunately, a great deal of what explains this income mobility are choices that are largely within an individual’s control. While people tend to earn more in their “prime earning years” than in their youth or old age, other key factors that explain income differences are education level, marital status, and number of earners per household. As AEI’s Mark Perry recently wrote:

The good news is that the key demographic factors that explain differences in household income are not fixed over our lifetimes and are largely under our control (e.g. staying in school and graduating, getting and staying married, etc.), which means that individuals and households are not destined to remain in a single income quintile forever.

According to the U.S. economist Thomas Sowell, whom Perry cites, “Most working Americans, who were initially in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent.”

While people move between income groups over their lifetime, many worry that income inequality between different income groups is increasing. The growing income inequality is real, but its causes are more complex than the demagogues make them out to be.

Consider, for example, the effect of “power couples,” or people with high levels of education marrying one another and forming dual-earner households. In a free society, people can marry whoever they want, even if it does contribute to widening income disparities.

Or consider the effects of regressive government regulations on exacerbating income inequality. These include barriers to entry that protect incumbent businesses and stifle competition. To name one extreme example, Louisiana recently required a government-issued license to become a florist. Lifting more of these regressive regulations would aid income mobility and help to reduce income inequality, while also furthering economic growth.

If our elections were more about the substance of serious public policy issues, rather than demagoguery and soundbites, achieving reasonable solutions could move from the land of make-believe to our complex, dynamic reality.

This article first appeared at CapX.

Chelsea GermanChelsea German

Chelsea German works at the Cato Institute as a Researcher and Managing Editor of

Damn It Feels Good to be a Liberal

liberal logic 101It’s usually pretty easy to be a liberal these days. Most of their policy prescriptions and legislative proposals require nothing more than a quick talking point, with no further analysis or questions answered regarding the long-term effects of such proposals. If a liberal policymaker wants to take more money from hard working Americans via higher taxes, he or she simply throws out the “pay your fair share” talking point and doesn’t ever worry about explaining to hard-working Americans what their “fair share” is. If a liberal policymaker wants to steal away control of your health care decisions, he or she simply throws out the “health care is a right” talking point without ever explaining how declaring things as “rights” confers numerous obligations on others, all enforceable using the force of government.

Bumper sticker talking points, such as the infamous “war on women,” are clever scams drawn up by liberals to ensure that they are easily remembered, but rarely thought through.

Liberals live and die by the talking point because their ideology must fit on a bumper sticker. Bumper sticker talking points, such as the infamous “war on women,” are clever scams drawn up by liberals to ensure that they are easily remembered, but rarely thought through. It’s pretty easy to be a liberal when you can declare your intentions to be noble and positive, print an easy-to-remember bumper sticker, get massive pieces of damaging legislation passed, and then run away from the negative fallout from your terrible ideas once the consequences become evident.

This strategy has worked for liberals for decades, but this week it hit a massive speed bump with a tsunami of bad news hitting Americans. The horrific murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant, who was deported an astounding five times, harbored in a sanctuary city, is really a tough one for the liberal intelligentsia to explain away.

It’s tough to be a liberal policymaker this week when being one involves explaining to your constituents how their hard earned money should support the income, healthcare, education, and housing requirements for a group of people who simply do not care about our immigration laws or procedures. When some, albeit a small, but not insignificant number, of those same people murder innocent American citizens, it’s tough to whip out the quickie talking point or hand out that bumper sticker to bail you out of the trouble your ideology has caused.

It’s tough to be a liberal this week and to have to look Americans in the face and explain away the revolting, explosive, and potentially illegal, human organ trafficking activities of Planned Parenthood caught on videotape.

Second, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran is beginning to look like the biggest foreign policy calamity in recent American history. Good luck being a liberal policymaker this week trying to tell Americans “don’t worry, the Iranians are only a decade or so away from deploying a nuclear weapon.” Try fitting that one on a bumper sticker as the hegemonic mullahs immediately jump in front of the cameras to declare “death to America.” Also, it’s tough to stick to the ridiculously oversimplified, and frequently utilized, “world peace” mantra or the “Bush did it” talking point, as liberal policymakers try to explain to Americans how the Iranian deal provides no clear, unobstructed path to inspections of Iranian military facilities. Only those willingly, or wishfully, ignorant believe that an Iranian military facility is an unlikely place for illicit nuclear activity with a regime noted for deception and international agitation.

Finally, it’s tough to be a liberal this week and to have to look Americans in the face and explain away the revolting, explosive, and potentially illegal, human organ trafficking activities of Planned Parenthood caught on videotape. That handy old “it’s all about choice” bumper sticker talking point is tough to explain away when your support of “choice” also involves innocent American taxpayers being forced to finance the operations of a deranged outfit which traffics in the body parts of aborted babies and discusses it over a hearty Caesar salad. It’s time to immediately defund this abomination of an organization without delay and investigate those responsible for this atrocity.

It’s easy to be liberal; conservatives have been lamenting this for years. We have had to be the adults in the room and explain the marginal tax rate ramifications on productivity and growth while the liberals get to scream, “pay your fair share.” This has led to a messaging battlefield asymmetry, which is hard to overcome.

I hate it that these tragedies occurred, and that many will continue to suffer due to these liberal policies but, if we want to prevent further derelictions of duty, it’s up to us to demand answers now and make liberal policymakers leave their protected messaging comfort zones and answer to the American people for their mistakes.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Conservative Review. The featured image is by Charles Krupa | AP Photo.

VIDEO: It’s Easy Being Green When You Have No Choice

It's Easy Being Green When You Have No ChoiceThis feature film is narrated by Brian Sussman, San Francisco radio host (KSFO) and best-selling author of Climategate: A Veteran Meteorologist Exposes the Global Warming Scam and Eco-Tyranny: How the Left’s green Agenda Will Dismantle America.

Some may say there is only circumstantial evidence and others may say it is just a coincidence, however, the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio that presented Agenda 21 and introduced sustainable development to the world as the solution to save the planet from man made global warming likely would not have happened if the Soviet Union continued to be the main rival to America and Western Civilization.

To learn more visit: Watch the trailer:

To purchase a copy of the full length film click here.

The Atrocities of Abortion / The Curse of Common Core: It all comes down to “CHOICE”

Hope all is well with you as we dare to begin the second week of this tumultuous school year. Tumultuous only because an unconstitutional government take-over of our beloved education system has taken over a good majority of the country; “100” out of 176 Catholic dioceses in the United States have sinfully adopted this curse; and the good majority of our 317 million American citizens in the United States still do NOT have a clue what Common Core is – where it came from – and the dangers it is going to have on our nation in a couple of years, if not sooner…

Folks, Common Core has been the most controversial issue to hit our country in decades, maybe since January 22nd, 1973, when the ruthless liberals passed Roe v. Wade, making the killing of innocent babies in the womb, fair game. Abortion has taken a toll on our country to the tune of over 56 million babies having been aborted since that infamous day in ’73. It affects women who have had an abortion more than experts know as they are still doing studies on that. It affects men, just as well. And, society says that it is all about “choice” – that it is the women’s choice whether to have her baby or abort that precious little one. So, as much as us devout Pro-Lifers fight it – this culture of death that we are living in today – says that abortion is perfectly legal and that it is up to the woman to make her choice – whether she sneaks in an abortion clinic as a teenager (without her parents’ consent) or whether it is an older woman in her 40’s, who decides that she can’t afford to have another baby. The word “choice” keeps surfacing when it comes to women’s rights…at least she does have a choice…

Now, let’s take a look at this other attack on our country that has taken it by storm – one that I refer to as the “Curse of Common Core”. Let’s see how it relates to the atrocity of abortion in terms of that word, “choice”…

  • In 2002, all 50 states in our country had the “choice” to come on board with a program called “No Child Left Behind” with regards to Public School Education – under the watch of President George W. Bush. 45 states chose to sign up for this program because the funding was outstanding – they took the millions – but found out shortly that this program was not that outstanding. It barely survived, but those public schools in those respective states’ governments still received lots of money – but, were now “married” to the Federal Government and had to abide by their rules. It was their “choice”.
  • In 2009, when our good buddy, Obama, took over as president in his first term, he and Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, and several other cronies sort of “resurrected” this No Child Left Behind mess and renamed it to “Race to the Top”. Part of the evolution process. They both used their left hands to sign on the dotted line and those same 45 states followed the blind, chasing more money, as they really had “no choice” with which way this administration was going to run this new program. They were still “married” to the government, were at their mercy, and needed the money more than ever, so they continued with their rocky marriage – having “no choice” in the matter…a one-way relationship with no say from the governors or school leaders…

Divorce was NOT an option – they would not receive any more money if they filed for divorce!

Over 7 years had gone by since the start of “No Child Left Behind”, and now, another 3 years with “Race to the Top” – and the public schools from those same 45 states were still at the mercy of this liberal government, who now were looking to come up with another “gimmick”, in order to keep those 45 states eating out of their hands at their command since Race to the Top seemed to have run its course and the top bottomed out. It was time for a new and improved program to keep these 45 governors and their respective school districts quiet and hungry for more…

Come 2012, and Obama and Duncan felt like it was time for another “magic trick” in order to continue to have control over all of these public schools – and without the consent of anybody who mattered when it comes to school matters – they pulled a dirty rabbit out of the hat and decided to call it Common Core. And, those same 45 states had no choice but to continue to follow the blind, chase the money and be at the mercy of the Obama/Duncan dictatorship. All the while, no teacher, student or parent had any clue what these two and the rest of the so-called “education experts” were up to. Only a few of these “corrupt cronies” who were behind this stealth operation knew what was going on and by the time the public finally heard about Common Core, it was already in Phase III…and too late for the public to react…so we thought…And, that was at the beginning of last year’s school year…

Once again, these same 45 states who began with “No Child Left Behind” in 2002 had “no choice” in this matter and could not care less what new name they gave it. They were stuck with it. They just needed the money. For the record: They did NOT volunteer for this new, untested and unproven set of standards that these liberals decided to call Common Core, but they had no choice but to follow along and do whatever it took to stay in grace with the Obama administration and to continue to receive this money – not knowing that the last penny from Race to the Top was going to be paid out on June 30th, 2014. Are you still with me? Stay with us and keep the word “choice” in mind.

“Choice”…a very important word. Important when it comes to a woman’s right. Important when it comes to our children’s education. Keep in mind that all 3 of these government programs that I have spoken about deal with PUBLIC SCHOOLS, ONLY! They have nothing to do with Private schools, Home schools or the ever-curious Catholic schools…

So, when the Catholic schools got wind of this new set of standards and all the money that came with it, they began to explore what was on the other side and started to get a bit curious, then greedy – looking into how they could get their “preying hands” on some of this Federal Funding that these Public schools were receiving. Common Core had nothing to do with the Catholic schools – but, somehow, they made it a point to have something to do with it. It was the beginning of the “fall from grace” – just like the analogy I gave you a week ago when I referred to Common Core as the “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden. Temptations from that evil serpent…Starting to make sense, now?

“100” of the 176 Catholic dioceses in our country (including all 7 right here in our beloved state of Florida), decided to compromise their Catholic identity and cross over the boundaries to the other side to see if they did, indeed, eat from that forbidden fruit, if there were any consequences to pay. Would they be thrown out of that beautiful garden? After all, there was a ton of money out there and what’s a simple venial sin? Once again, it was these Catholic dioceses’ “choice”, with 100 of them disobeying their Creator, listening to the evil serpent, and eating from the forbidden fruit – an apple…and, now the entire country knows that it is “rotten to the core”…

And, that brings us full circle to what is going on in our country today. All the facts are out there now, plain and clear. We caring, anti-Common Core activists continue to illustrate to the entire nation how corrupt, unconstitutional and unethical this Curse truly is. We have laid it out there for all to see while exposing all those who decided to entertain that forbidden fruit – the greedy politicians, the shady legislators, the corrupt school leaders, the superintendents, the Catholic Church leaders, the Bishops, etc. They all know the difference between right and wrong. Moral and immoral. What is the truth, what is not true. And, once again, it’s all about “choice” and free will. Life is all about choice. Giving life – aborting life…it’s all about choice. Adopting Common Core, not adopting it…it’s all about choice…

On January 22nd, 1973, the most critical decision in our country was made in regards to giving a woman the choice to abort her baby or have her baby. Ironically, “abortion was born”. The liberals won that battle and in these past 41 years, 56 million babies have lost that battle…they had “no choice”…

We are now in the year 2014 – six years into the presidency of the most liberal, “Pro-abortion President” this country has ever seen in its 238 year existence, as things continue to move to the left, while Obama continues to promote these two intrinsic evils that I am writing about. American citizens have a choice to make right now, in regards to Common Core, as it is still in its “developmental & experimental stage”, and from the looks of things, the more people in this country learn about Common Core, the more they hate it. It has become the country’s biggest controversy. People are finally beginning to understand the hidden socialist agenda behind this monster that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation helped create with their “blood billions”. Its approval rate is dropping quicker than Obama’s and now more than 65% of the country do not believe that Common Core is good for this country.

So, to tie this entire story together, you can now see how the liberals’ two most controversial claims to fame – Abortion and Common Core – are quite similar in many aspects. Abortion attacks our innocent unborn and it was legalized by the immoral liberals in our country in 1973 – while the Church just sat and watched. Common Core attacks our school children and it was designed by the same people, while that same church has not only sat & watched – but has jumped into the bounty, to make matters even worse. These two evils ultimately will have the same effect on our country’s youth – one destroying them at birth, the other – destroying them in school. Looking at the “Big Picture”, Common Core could be even more detrimental than abortion, and once indoctrinated into our country’s society, Common Core will be entrenched for decades to come. And, not a single student in this country (unless “home-schooled”), will have a choice as to what he or she will be taught in their schools – public, private or Catholic. “NO CHOICE” – it’s Common Core or bust!

And, if you think that the abortion issue has taken a toll on our country these past 41 years – just let Common Core take hold of our beloved schools the way these liberal government and greedy school leaders are pushing for. It will be catastrophic. Mark my words – Common Core will destroy this country because education plays such a huge role in our beloved nation and it will effect everybody – whether you know it or not. And, in contrast to the abortion issue, where the woman has a “choice” to abort or deliver her precious baby – when it comes to Common Core – our beloved children will have “No Choice”. It will be the law of the land unless we citizens stand up for our rights and our freedoms and make our voices heard and fight for our 5 C’s:

Country, Constitution, Church, Children and Christ.

Friends: It is up to the good citizens of this country to take back our beloved country, schools and churches. Almost 13 months have gone by since we began this fight against Common Core. It pales in comparison to the 41 years of our fight against abortion right now – but, Common Core has the makings of being even more damaging as it will affect every child in our country ages 5-18. We have a “choice” today: Either remain silent and do Nothing about this issue – or get up, make your voice heard; stand up for our beloved country, church and children – and say “NO” to Common Core. It’s your choice. It’s our children’s future…and they are the future of our beloved country…

The new anti-home school attack is use of “Badman Rules”

The Badman Rules are intended to give government agents control over homeschooling families. Will Americans fight for the well being of our children?

The goal of the progressive left is to dominate the training of every youngster in America.  Home School families are being targeted once again and I say we should all stand up for home school freedom.