“more free does not translate into more unequal.” huh? (me and francis, part 4)

It has been pointed out to me via email that in my article “the promise of trickle-down economics was that when the glass was full it would overflow” (posted January 24, 2014) that I did not quite make my point regarding Benjamin Powell and the point that he also did not make.

In a piece for Huffington Post dated December 20, 2013, Mr. Powell contradicted Pope Francis, arguing that in fact trickle-down economics has been good for the lesser income-earners. In my piece I noted that Powell had noted that “The income share of the poorest 10% of the population in the least economically free countries is 2.57% while their share is 2.76% in the freest countries. More free does not translate into more unequal.”

That he had to compare the American economy (and other Western nations that had succumbed to the disease of freemarketitis) to that of Third World countries should indicate that he had either lost his argument or never had one to begin.

A more reasonable argument to make his case would have been to compare the distribution of income and wealth in the US in 1980—the year that Ronald Reagan brought the promised trickle-down effect (or in the words of George H. Bush, “voodoo economics”) to the White House—to where it stands today.

If the American middle-class has a greater share of the income and wealth and the lower-class a lesser rate of poverty now than then, then Powell wins his argument. Do I need to tell you whether or not he does, in fact, win his argument?

Comments and arguments welcome!