What if the fight against wealth inequality was actually making us poorer? The Wall Street Journal editorial board thinks it's a possibility:
If there is a single unifying principle behind the Democratic agenda of the last two years, it is this: Reduce income inequality. So yesterday's annual Census Bureau review of American incomes is a kind of progress report on how this agenda is working out. In a word, our wealth isn't spread any more equitably, though more of us are poor.
The board describes President Obama's response:
So to address the rising poverty on his watch, the President wants to plow ahead with the same policies that aren't reducing poverty.
There is a better way:
We draw a different lesson, which is the continuing imperative of rapid economic growth. Census Bureau figures over the last 50 years show that poverty falls most rapidly during times of the most sustained growth—the 1960s, 1980s and second half of the 1990s. The poverty rate also fell in the mid-2000s before heading up again when the recession hit. The most important goal of economic policy should be to increase society's overall wealth. This helps the poor and everybody else.
Read the entire editorial.