Inequality Denialists


Posted by Bob Lord

By now, we're all familiar with the pseudo-science of climate change denial. Exxon Mobil, the Koch brothers, or someone of that ilk funds a think tank, which hires a dishonest "scientist" to concoct a "study" to tell us all the peer reviewed papers documenting climate change are wrong. 

Now, we have climate change denial's twin brother, inequality denial. The principle is the same: Find an intellectually dishonest "economist" to manipulate the data and claim that things really aren't that unequal. 

Paul Krugman recently took an inequality denialist to task in his blogpost, Disinformation on Inequality. The denialist, Bret Stephens, had engaged in rank intellectual dishonesty in a piece written for the Wall Street Journal. 

Among other things, Stephens used income figures that had not been adjusted for inflation in order to claim that incomes were up substantially for all Americans. In other words, if the cost of living had doubled and your income doubled, he'd say your income was up 100%, rather than saying it was unchanged. Wow! And the Journal was only too happy to publish Stephens' masterpiece.

Here's Krugman's conclusion:

We could have a debate about whether rising inequality is a problem, and whether measures intended to curb it would do more harm than good. But we can’t have that kind of debate if the anti-populist side won’t acknowledge basic facts – and it won’t. In his piece Stephens trashes Obama, accusing him of making a factual error when he did no such thing; then proceeds to commit just about every statistical sin you can imagine in an attempt to minimize the rise in inequality. In the process he leaves his readers more ignorant than they were before. When this is what passes for argument, how can we have any kind of rational discussion?

Expect to see a whole lot more inequality denial. America's economic royalists will pull every stunt possible to keep the masses under heel. 


  1. Error is not dishonesty. But, speaking of dishonesty, you or anyone else have yet to prove that the gains of small businesswomen are at the expense of the poor. In fact, a stonger case can be made that the poor benefit as small businesswomen move up.

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