The perennial debate regarding income inequality ebbs and flows but never disappears. For a variety of reasons, including the backlash against corporate bailouts in 2009 (well deserved), the election and re-election of Barack Obama, and a deluge of reports spanning the political spectrum, income inequality has vaulted to the front of the publics concerns. Unfortunately, the discussion of inequality is almost always fundamentally misstated because it ignores income mobility.
measuring income mobility
The gap is growing! The gap is growing! The rich are getting richer. And the poor, well, they just remain poor. At least thats what one would gather from the hysteria reported in the media on the latest Conference Board of Canada report on income inequality.
With headlines screaming Canada becoming a nation of haves and have-nots and the Canadian dream is out of reach for an increasing number, its plain to see why young Canadians might be filled with angst at the prospects that they can no longer shape their economic future.
There has been a spate of news stories in recent months dealing with the suggestion that the gap between the rich and the poor in Canada is at a 30-year high. Liberal leader Stéphane Dion even promised to make the unfair distribution of income in Canada one of the major issues in the next federal election.
Claims like these make good headlines, but the cliché about the rich getting richer and the data supporting the claim are both highly misleading.