Inequality Blues

I’ve been arguing for a while (in the “Poverty Ain’t What It Used to Be” series, for example) that the left and the media have a distorted picture of the United States, based on the fact that they reside in large cities that really do have a huge and powerful upper class, a large lower class, and a disappearing middle class. The New York Times offers confirmation in the case of New York:

The wealthiest 1 percent of New York City residents took in nearly one-third of the personal income in the city in 2009 — almost double the comparable proportion nationwide, a new study shows.

The most striking difference between New York and the rest of the United States, the report showed, was the concentration of earning power at the high end.

In 2009, nearly 15,000 filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more. They accounted for less than half of 1 percent of the total number of filers, but they took in 26.7 percent of the income in the city. Nationally, people who earned at least $1 million in 2009 collected less than 10 percent of all the income….

The comptroller’s report also revealed that New York had a smaller bulge in its middle than the rest of the country. Nationally, about 31 percent of filers earned $50,000 to $200,000, and they took in 52 percent of all the personal income in the country. In New York, just 28 percent of filers fell into that income bracket, and they collected only 36 percent of all the personal income in the city.

That’s not only a source of distortion; it’s the effect of the Blue-state policies, supposedly intended to combat inequality, that instead end up producing it. “As you know, libertarians aren’t in charge of New York.

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