Inequality Statistics and Poverty Facts

James Banks /

“Facts are stubborn things,” wrote Mark Twain, “but statistics are more pliable.” Jonathan Alter amply demonstrates this truism in last weekend’s New York Times Book Review. In regard to income inequality—a perennial favorite among the media and liberals—he opines:

Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent of the country has received 36 percent of all the gains in household incomes; 1 percent got more than a third of the upside. And the top one-tenth of 1 percent acquired much more of the nation’s increased wealth during those years than the bottom 60 percent did. That’s roughly 300,000 super-rich people with a bigger slice of the pie than 180 million Americans. The collapse of the American middle class and the huge transfer of wealth to the already wealthy is the biggest domestic story of our time and a proper focus of liberal energy.