I have enjoyed the give-and-take related to Paul Krugman and David Brooks opinions on income inequality. Two aspects of the controversy have not been addressed, though:
First, the rich have disproportionate access to our legislators, both locally and nationally, and can afford to support, and in some cases, even craft legislation that favors themselves at the expense of the not so rich. The rollback of capital gains taxes in the last 20 years is a classic example of this.
Secondly, there is a direct negative correlation between income inequality and the well-being of a nation’s citizens. The UNICEF Index of Child Well-Being finds a direct correlation between inequality and higher child mortality rates, poor access to education, higher dropout rates and greater societal violence and incarceration rates. Ironically, purely on a statistical basis, a citizen of Denmark, which has among the highest income tax rates in the world, stands a better chance of living “The American Dream” than you and I.