As cities rousted Occupiers, liberals claimed the movement has already succeeded by calling attention to income inequality. But all it’s really done is give the left an excuse to recycle bogus class-warfare claims.
Soon after Mayor Bloomberg cleared the Occupiers out of New York’s Zuccotti Park, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein reassured his fellow liberals. “The movement has already scored some big wins,” he wrote, because it has “changed the national conversation.” The evidence? The press has written lots of stories about income inequality lately.
Of course, counting news stories proves nothing. The liberal media love the Occupy crowd and what it stands for, and so it generously flooded the zone with adoring coverage, while carefully covering up the movement’s violence, depravity and anti-American radicalism.
But then again, almost nothing that’s been written or said about the Occupy movement and its main issue has been true.
Case in point is a recent New York Times op-ed by Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, in which he tries to convince readers that the Occupy movement is the leading edge of a progressive Nirvana. But his piece is rife with falsehoods.
In the very first paragraph, for example, Sachs claims that “we are at the end of the 30-year Reagan era, a period that has culminated in soaring income for the top 1% and crushing unemployment or income stagnation for much of the rest.”
In fact, the average income for the top 1% has dropped about 9% in real terms over the past decade, according to IRS data. Census data show a similar decline for top-income earners. Meanwhile, the Gini Index — a common measure of income inequality — has been almost dead flat since 2000.
And to the extent that inequality has climbed over the past 30 years, it’s been in concert with economic growth, rising during the Reagan and Clinton boom years and sagging during economic slumps.