On my show this week, I point out that although leftists claim that "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," the truth is that the poor got richer too.
Media Matters says I "mangled" and "cherry picked" the data.
Curiously, the sources they list confirm my point. For instance, the graph they use shows that the poorest fifth of Americans gained 18% in inflation-adjusted income since 1979.
They also claim: "The numbers Stossel used to support his argument were cherry-picked."
But viewers of my show this week saw this graph, which shows the average income of the poorest fifth for the entire period for which the Census provides data:
Income is down in the last decade. But the long term trend is up. From the first year they have data (1967, when I was in college) to the most recent year (2010), the poorest fifth of Americans became 22% richer.
Media Matters goes on to list facts like: "42 Percent Of American Men Born Into Bottom Fifth Stay There As Adults."
That's accurate. But put it another way: Most overcome the challenges and make it out of that group.
Media Matters' best argument is that a study found that: "the United States has less upward mobility from the bottom [fifth]... than the U.K. and Nordic Countries."
But that doesn't hold up to closer scrutiny, either. Yes, more people in cradle-to-grave welfare nations like Sweden moved out of the poorest fifth. But Sweden is a poorer country in general, and so moving out of the poorest fifth doesn't mean as much. In order for an American to move from the lowest fifth to the middle fifth, he'd have to make about $22,000 more. To do the same in Sweden takes just $12,500. [Source: Calculations using World Bank data.]
The U.S. could be better at ensuring equality of opportunity. School vouchers would reduce educational inequality by letting poor kids escape failing government-run schools. Government should also stop corporate welfare and stop transferring billions from relatively poor young people to people my age, who have had a lifetime to build up wealth. I wish the leftists would wake up and complain about injustices like that.
For more on this, tune in to my show on Fox News today (Saturday) at 3pm or 10pm ET.