Absolute Gains More Important

Published November 7, 2006

Dear Editor:

After all we’ve learned about economics, it amazes me that San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Janet Yellen would say U.S. income inequality “undermine[s] American Democracy” [“Fed’s Yellen, Income Gap Poses Risk,” Nov. 7].

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income is up 4 percent since February of this year alone. Real disposable income is up 2.2 percent and consumption is up 3.7 percent. What creates political instability is economic stagnation, not relative inequality. As long as the tide is lifting all boats the vast majority will go along for the ride.

Yellen’s belief that relative inequality is more important than overall societal wealth is perhaps the greater threat to American Democracy.


Michael Van Winkle
Chicago, IL

Michael Van Winkle ([email protected]) manages media relations for The Heartland Institute.