Between the 50th anniversary of the unfortunately-named War on Poverty, the Democrats’ increased focus on income inequality, and the discovery by some leading Republicans that rich people aren’t the only ones who vote, the nation’s conversation is turning to economic themes beyond health care.
Republicans aren’t comfortable talking about income inequality, but they are increasingly willing to talk about its cousin, reduced economic mobility. “The uncomfortable truth is that there are now a number of other countries with as much or more opportunity than ours,” Marco Rubio said this month. “More people in Canada go on to surpass the income of their parents than in the United States.”
It’s a complicated business, with lots of moving parts, various historic trends contributing to the momentum, and limited options for meaningful government intervention. And there are volumes of statistics that come into play. Here’s a new one, I find pretty stunning:
According to Oxfam International, the 85 wealthiest individuals are worth as much as the poorest 3.5 billion people – half the world’s population.