Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Raising the Barr

Last Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher Roseanne Barr argued that, thanks to Ronald Reagan and other Republicans, the working poor can't afford a house or send their kids to college anymore. It's complete nonsense. Real average wages of the poorest 10% and 20% have remained flat for decades-Reagan didn't sabotage them in any way as Barr implies.

Even more importantly, income mobility during the Reagan era was extraordinarily high. Between 85-95% (depending on who you ask and the time frame) of the lowest income quintile moved to a higher one. More than half moved to the middle quintile or higher. (I've been looking for more recent data, but the information from Steven Horwitz's webpage is still quite impressive.)

Both data sets also ignore that the quality of virtually everything we buy continues to increase. Every year standards rise, the economy grows and, even in light of inflation, everyone gets a bit richer.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

What? You mean Roseanne Barr isn't a credible source?

Say it aint so. Say it aint so!