In his speech yesterday, Obama brought up income inequality to justify higher taxes on the rich.
In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that’s who needs to pay less taxes?
But even if the numbers are accurate, Obama portrays a much more divided America that really exists, because -- as economist Russ Roberts notes on his blog -- today’s top income earners today are often completely different people from yesterday’s top income earners.
The group Pew Charitable Trusts followed families from 1970 to 2000 and found that people usualy broke out of poverty. Of children who were born to the poorest fifth of Americans in 1970, more than half of them rose out of that group by the year 2000. Similarly, being born to a rich family didn’t guarantee success: 61% of the kids born to the richest fifth of Americans in 1970 were no longer in that group thirty years later. That also means that 61% of the richest fifth in 2000 came from poorer families.
The names of some of those people are familiar. Steve Jobs dropped out of college and Oprah Winfrey was raised in poverty. Forbes magazine says that most of the billionaires on its list “made their fortunes from scratch.”
This graph shows how, while nearly all groups got wealthier from 1970 to 2000 (the data do not yet go to 2010) the children of poorer parents gained the most:
This Week's Show -- July 10, 2014
CENSORSHIP AT CBS: Investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has a similar story. She explains why she left CBS after it became "harder and harder to get stories on television" that criticized this government and "any powers that be."
IS STOSSEL BIASED?: Years ago, journalist Howard Kurtz criticized me for not being objective. I said it's impossible for any journalist to be completely objective. Now that Howard Kurtz is on Fox, we debate again.
THE OBJECTIVITY MYTH: Andrew Kirell of Mediaite.com says, "every journalist has a point of view and they don't just magically check it the minute they walk in the newsroom door."
NEW MEDIA: Reason TV's Remy Munasifi uses music videos and parodies to complain about things like politicians' spending. One of his latest parodies highlights the scandal surrounding the VA hospitals. Munasifi discusses his videos, which have gone viral on YouTube.
RETRO REPORT: It's great there's a new media organization called Retro Report, which reveals media hype of the past ("crack babies," America's landfill "crisis," the "superpredator," etc.) and corrects stories everyone in the media got wrong. I discuss the new show with its executive producer, Kyra Darnton.
REAL OR FAKE?: Sometimes people in the media say things that are so bizarre, you'd think they were made up. Kennedy of The Independents quizzes FoxBusiness.com's Kate Rogers, Fox Business host Charles Payne and me to see if any of us can tell which quotes are real, and which were made up by my staff.
MY TAKE: I used to report on lots of scares. CBS even ran an ad for me where someone called me a "guardian angel."
That's bunk. The only guardian angel is a free and open society. That's what allows innovation, gives people longer lives, and lifts billions out of poverty. But these gradual improvements aren't newsworthy. Scares and disaster make the news.
News is broken not just because we're biased but because most good and important news happens slowly.
9PM ET on Fox Business Network