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Chapman’s News & Ideas Disguised Income Redistribution

Income inequality supposedly is a major theme for the left–yesterday, today and (presuming Elizabeth Warren’s continuance) tomorrow. We know about the low skill workers who have trouble making a living, though it is amazing how little the left connects their difficulties to the wide acceptance of low wage immigrants. Even more surprising is the lack of political notice of the major shift in income distribution that is the result of artificially low interest rates decreed by government.

Sometimes a letter to the editor sticks in one’s mind, and so it is that as the year ends I recall one to the Wall Street Journal from back in October from a Gerald Betts of Camano Island, Washington. Let me quote it in its simple and profound entirety:

“Before the recession most seniors relied on a combination of Social Security reimbursement and interest on some savings for their basic income. As you know, fewer and fewer retired Americans are qualifying for private pensions. Interest rates fell from 5-6% in 2005-07 to 0.1-0.2% for the past five-plus years. Seniors involuntarily are subsidizing the economic recovery of America. The interest portion of most seniors’ income stream has almost disappeared.”

He’s right. It’s one reason so many seniors are working on and on.

As our friend Steve Hayward points out, these days the super-rich tend to support the left, oddly (or maybe, not so oddly), while frugal savers are being damaged. And are voting right.