I've long been skeptical of liberal arguments that inequality in America is out of control and needs to be addressed as the or a top economic concern facing the current generation of policymakers.
My position has largely been that economic immobility, to the extent that it exists, is a greater concern.
Ultimately, pervasive, long-term economic immobility speaks to a problem with regard to fulfillment of the American Dream. The general idea behind America is that here, anyone who is hardworking (and especially anyone who is hardworking and talented) can make it, irrespective of the economic status into which they were born. Lose that and you lose a lot of our national character and much of what makes, and has historically, made this nation great.
To which I find that liberals typically reply something along the lines of, "yes, we agree, but we have no mobility here anymore, either, because the inequality problem is so out of control." Inequality leads to immobility, in many of their minds. And in the minds of those who don't see it quite that way, I find there is generally at least a belief that inequality correlates directly with immobility, across the board.
I have long suspected that in fact, the extent of inequality in many parts of America does not correspond with or indicate equivalent immobility problems. I don't spend hours a day analyzing studies about this stuff (I have a day job, and it doesn't involve extensive economic policy analysis on a par with, say, what you'd find in a policy job at Brookings or CATO), but anecdotal evidence suggests that this is not so, at least in many major cities and metropolitan areas, as does other evidence upon which I stumble from time to time. Like this, from Crain's NY:... > Read more & share