Shorter Verbatim Kevin Williamson: “Indeed, as societies grow wealthier and more integrated into the global economy, economic inequality tends to increase, a fact of life in such different countries as the United States, Sweden, Singapore, and India…”
Um, except: “If inequality simply reflects individual qualities, why can we observe such stark differences in its level over time, not to mention between different countries? The answer, of course, is that public policies shape the distribution of both market and post-tax and transfer income.
Abstract thought experiments and references to old novels are a more attractive way for conservatives to frame their defense of existing economic privilege than engaging with the actually existing debate over inequality. The context of this debate is that the tax and transfer system in the United States does less to reduce market inequality than the systems in nearly any other advanced economy.”
And in addition: “The US remains the most unequal nation (after taxes and transfers), but now a main driver of that inequality is market inequality. In this figure, the US (along with Ireland and the UK) has market income inequality substantially higher than the rest of the countries. In other words, it is the distribution of wages and income from capital, independent of the fiscal system, that makes the US comparatively unequal. Indeed, America also does less redistribution than several other rich countries, European countries in particular, so that’s still part of the story, but it’s not the whole story or even most of it.”