The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Economic Indices

Assuming that Hillary Clinton is not indicted on multiple felony counts for her national security violations, her path to the Democratic nomination is assured. But socialist Bernie Sanders will not go away, and it's very likely that his extreme class warfare rhetoric with have a significant influence on the Democrat platform and on Clinton's stated policies and positions.

The Democrat's trained hamsters in the media will collectively support Clinton's contention that "income inequality" is a major national threat and look uncritically at her (Bernie's?) redistributionist schemes to eliminate inequality. What they won't do is look at a history that clearly indicates that income inequality increases far more when Democrats control the presidency than when the GOP controls the White House. After all, that conflicts with the narrative and that simply won't do.

There are three economic indices used by the Census Bureau to assess income distribution in the United States. Lawrence Lindsey describes them as follows: "the Gini index, the mean logarithmic deviation of income (mean log deviation for short), and the Theil index—each of which represents inequality levels on a scale of 0 to 1 (zero signifies perfect equality and 1 indicates perfect inequality)." He goes on the write:
By all three measures, inequality rose more under Bill Clinton than under Ronald Reagan. And it wasn’t even close. While the inequality increase as measured by the Gini index was only slightly more during Clinton’s two terms, the Theil index and mean log deviation increased two and three times as much, respectively.

Barack Obama’s administration follows this pattern, despite the complaints he and his supporters have made about his predecessor. The mean log deviation increased 37% more under Mr. Obama than under President George W. Bush, although when this statistic was released, Mr. Obama had only six years as president compared with Mr. Bush’s eight. The Gini index rose more than three times as much under Mr. Obama than under Mr. Bush. The Theil index increased sharply during the Obama administration, while it fell slightly under Bush 43.
But why is this?

Lindsey provides an answer:
... consider their policies. Both Democratic presidents presided over bubble economies fueled by easy monetary policy. There is no better way to make the rich richer than to run policies that push up the price of financial assets. Cheap money is a boon to those who have access to it. Interest rates were also too low under Bush 43, but that bubble was in housing, and the effects were therefore more evenly distributed than under Mr. Clinton’s stock-market bubble or Mr. Obama’s credit bubble.

Money matters, but so do other policies, such as the long, historic sweep of the expanding welfare state. In 1968, government transfer payments totaled $53 billion or roughly 7% of personal income. By 2014, these had climbed to $2.5 trillion—about 17% of personal income. Despite the redistribution of a sixth of all income, inequality measured by all three of the Census Bureau’s indexes is far higher today than in 1968.

Transfer payments under Mr. Obama increased by $560 billion. By contrast private-sector wages and salaries grew by $1.1 trillion. So for every $2 in extra wages, about $1 was paid out in extra transfer payments—lowering the relative reward to work. Forty-five million people received food stamps in mid-2015, an increase of 46% since the end of 2008. Similarly, 71.6 million individuals were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, an increase of 13.3 million since October 2013.
Unfortunately, the media's hamsters appear not to have the intellectual capacity to process these numbers and even if they do, don't have the inclination to report facts and data that run counter to the Dem narrative.