EDITORrnThomas FlemingrnMANAC;iNG EDITORrnTheodore PappasrnSENIOR EDITOR, BOOKSrnChilton Williamson, Jr.rnASSISTANT EDITORrnScott P. RwhertrnART DIRECTORrnAnna Mycek-WodeckirnCONTRIBUTING EDITORSrnHarold O.]. Brown, KatherinernDalton, Samuel Francis,rnGeorge Garrett, Paul Gottfried,rnJ.O. Tate, Michael Washburn,rnClyde WilsonrnCORRESPONDING EDITORSrnBill Kauffman, William Mills,rnJacob Neusner, Srdja TrifkovicrnEDITORIAL SECRETARYrnLeann DobbsrnPUBLISHERrnThe Rockford InstituternPUBLICATION DIRECTORrnGuy C. ReffettrnCIRCULATION MANAGERrnCindy LinkrnA publication of The Rockford Institute.rnEditorial and .Advertising Offices:rn928 North Main Street, Rockford, !L 61103.rnEditorial Phone: (815)964-5054.rnAdvertising Phone: (815) 964-5813.rnSubscription Department: P.O. Box 800,rnMount Morris, IE 61054. Call 1-800-877-5459.rnLJ.S.A. Newsstand Distribution by Eastern NewsrnDistributors, Inc., One Media Way. 12406 Rt. 250rnMilan, Ohio 44848-9705rnCopwight © 1998 by The Rockford Institute.rnAll rights reserved.rnChmnides (ISSN 0887-5731) is publishedrninontliK for $39.00 (foreign subscriptions add $12rnfor surface delivery, $48 for ;Air Mail] per year byrnThe Rockford Institute, 928 North Main Street,rnRockford, IL 61103-7061. Preferred periodicalrnpostage paid at Rockford, IL and additional mailingrnoffices. POSTMASTER: Send address changesrnto Chmnides. P.O. Box SCO, Mount Morris,rnIL 610HrnThe views expressed in Chronides are thernauthors’ alone and do not necessarily reflectrnthe views of The Rockford Institute or of itsrndirectors. Unsolicited manuscripts cannot bernreturned unless accompanied bv a self-addressedrnstamped envelope.rnChroniclesrn’ol. 22, No. 9 September 199SrnPrintecl in t!ie I hiileci Slates of AmericarnPOLEMICS & EXCHANGESrnOn Rich and PoorrnThere must be .some mistake. After finishingrnBob Djurdjevic’s “Wiping Outrnthe Middle Class” (May), I suspectrnsomeone has sneaked the latest issue ofrnMother Jones inside a Chronicles cover.rnSuch hand-wringing over an alarmist reportrnon “income inequalit}'” released byrna liberal Washington think tank whosernmission is to lobby for more redistributionrnof wealth from the productive to thernindolent is not befitting a high-browrnjournal of the Old Right,rnDjurdjevic begins with the same slipper)’rnpremise that has been Marxist dogmarnsince the Reagan years: “the rich arerngetting richer; the poor, poorer.” This isrnnot the case, or, at least, it is not thernwhole stor)’.rnDjurdjevic serves up comparativernstatistics that slice total family income intornarbitrary sections and rails about thernincreasing percentage that goes to arnsmall number of well-off families versusrnthat which goes to the bottom portion.rnBut these are purely relative measuresrnthat say nothing about the real, materialrnwell-being of either group. Nor do theyrnreveal the phenomenal recovery of middle-rnclass incomes during the Reaganrnboom of 1982-89, or their moderate risernafter 1994.rnOn demographic factors that contributernsignificantly to income disparity’,rnDjurdjevic is silent. The rise of singleparentrnhouseholds and the consequentrnshrinking number of full-time workers inrnpoor families have affected the incomesrnof those families. Djurdjevic’s figures alsornaccount for cash income only, excludingrnthe value of Social Securit)’ contributionsrnby employers, pensions, healthrninsurance, and other benefits. Moreover,rnno consideration is given to thernsupply-side theory that falling taxes overrnthis period spurred the work incenties ofrnhigher-income Americans and lessenedrntheir incentive to shelter incoine.rnDjurdjevic’s analysis is wholly static,rnassuming that the people vithin any givenrnquintile of income in 1977 are the exactrnsame people in 1994. Businessesrncome and go; employees are promotedrnand fired; the notion that the Americanrneconomy is immobile and that its participantsrnare confined to a permanent hierarchyrnis demonstrable nonsense.rnPerhaps most importantly, to the extentrnthat there exists any “dwindling” ofrnour middle class, those departing it are inrnfact moving upward. From 1980 torn1993, the share of families earningrn$25,000 to $75,000 in constant moneyrnfell from 50.7 percent to 47.1 percent,rnyet the percentage earning underrn$25,000 remains unchanged from 20rnyears ago. Thus virtually all of those familiesrn”dwindled” themselves into affluence!rnThis is cause for concern?rnDjurdjevic’s article would probablyrnnot have been written a bit differently byrnDick Gephardt, but it raises an importantrnquestion. If he is going to adopt thernshrill rhetoric and half-baked statistics ofrnthe redistributionist left, how does hernpropose we address the “alarming” problem?rnRaise taxes on the rich? Hike thernminimum wage?rnThere is no question that free tradernand unchecked immigration have beenrnraw deals for lower-echelon workers, andrnon that front we should confront ourrnneoconser’ative allies head on. But wernmust not buy into the politics of jealousyrnpeddled by our common statist enemies.rn— Shawn MercerrnMilledgeville, GArnThere are several facts that Bob Djurdjevicrnhas not taken into account. First, researchrnshows that the actual people inrnthe different cohorts (fifths of the population)rnare anvthing but static. Evenrnthough the income of the middle fifthrndropped by 22 percent, this does notrnmean that any particular family’s incomerndropped. It may very well have increasedrnenough to put the family in the nextrnhigher cohort.rnSecond, for a magazine that has put asrnmuch emphasis on the ill effects of immigrationrnas has Chronicles, it is remarkablernthat the effect that new immigrantsrnha’e on the lowest cohort’s income wasrnnot noted. We clearly cannot continuernto add many people at the bottom of thernearning scale without creating an effectrnthat makes it appear that we are becomingrnpoorer (except at the top, which remainsrnthe top). We push the presentrnpoor into the fourth cohort as we add immigrantsrn(the very poor) at the bottomrn(and the fourth to the third, etc.).rnBefore Mr. Djurdjevic despairs, hern4/CHRONICLESrnrnrn