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The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate Spiral-Bound | September 15, 2022

Phil Gramm, Robert Ekelund, John Early

★★★★☆+ from 101 to 500 ratings

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A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2022: Politics. Find out why what you know about American income inequality, poverty, and other measures of economic well-being is wrong. A former United States senator, eminent economist, and a former senior leader at the Bureau of Labor Statistics take readers on a deep dive into the way government measures economic well-being and demonstrate that our official statistics overstate inequality.

A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2022: Politics Everything you know about income inequality, poverty, and other measures of economic well-being in America is wrong. In this provocative book, a former United States senator, eminent economist, and a former senior leader at the Bureau of Labor Statistics challenge the prevailing consensus that income inequality is a growing threat to American society. By taking readers on a deep dive into the way government measures economic well-being, they demonstrate that our official statistics dramatically overstate inequality. Getting the facts straight reveals that the key measures of well-being are greater than the official statistics of the country would lead us to believe. Income inequality is lower today than at any time in post- World War II America. The facts reveal a very different and better America than the one that is currently described by policy advocates across much of the political spectrum. The Myth of American Inequality provides clear and convincing evidence that the American Dream is alive and well.
Publisher: National Book Network
Original Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 1538167387
Item Weight: 1.0 lbs
Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
Customer Reviews: 4 out of 5 stars 101 to 500 ratings
What makes this book an invaluable new resource for public policy and economic education is its focus on how the experiences of Americans of different living standards evolved over time and how earned income and consumption diverged for the poorest households. It traces improvements in the living standards of the poor to transfer programs, shows how taxation of the rich has flattened the distribution of consumption across households, and documents how measurement errors have distorted general beliefs about economic inequality. But that’s not all. This book is written in straightforward American English, not in economic think-tank jargon. It shows clearly how each element of the analysis (taxation, transfers, inflation adjustment) contributes to its conclusions. Graphs and tables are comprehensive and comprehensible. The style is lively and lucid. The analysis probes deeply to demonstrate the robustness of its conclusions. Most important, the authors don’t clutter their analysis with contentious approaches to measurement, and they limit their policy recommendations to those that flow self-evidently from the facts they document. It is encouraging that three disparate economists can together write an objective book about the measurement of living standards, poverty and inequality without engaging in partisan advocacy that undermines their findings. The Myth of American Inequality will have a positive effect on the quality of policy discussions, and may well achieve its objective of changing the ways in which government agencies report information about American household income and consumption. At a time when partisan tribalism makes serious discussion almost impossible in Washington, this book shows that economics is still a powerful tool kit for informing and disciplining our thinking across the partisan divide. -The Wall Street Journal
Phil Gramm served six years in the US House of Representatives and eighteen years in the US Senate where he was Chairman of the Banking Committee. Gramm is a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was Vice Chairman of UBS Investment Bank and is now Vice Chairman of Lone Star Funds. He taught Economics at Texas A&M University and has published numerous articles and books. Gramm lives in the Helotes, Texas. Bob Ekelund is currently professor and eminent scholar in economics (emeritus) at Auburn University, beginning his career at Texas A&M University. He is the author of more than 20 books and several hundred articles on the history of economic theory, economic history and economic policy in the specific areas of art, religion, and regulation. He lives and works in Auburn, Alabama. John Early is a mathematical economist who began working as a legislative assistant to a US Senator and assistant commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has served in senior leadership positions in global consultancies on quality and financial performance and as chief customer and strategy officer for a Fortune 100 company. His publications include improving measurements of price change, labor force dynamics, and improving healthcare. He lives joyfully in Charleston, South Carolina.