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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dont Mind the Gap

I do mind the gap.

In his op-ed piece, Andrew Kohut ignores the problems that both rich and poor have in countries and other jurisdictions with high inequality (Don't mind the Gap. New York Times, January 27, 2012: A21).

In their book, The Spirit Level,  Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett enumerate the problems:

In developed countries, there is a strong negative relationship between inequality and life expectancy; though only a very weak relationship with average wealth.  Similar results when we compare inequality and life expectancy across the states in the USA: a strong negative relationship. Again little relationship with the average wealth of the state.

A whole set of other indicators (trust, negative; infant mortality, positive; incarceration rates, positive; well-being, negative).

So inequality matters and it is important to note that it is both rich and poor who suffer from these negative effects. Undoubtedly the poor suffer more.

In the light of the 15% tax rates paid by some of the very rich, we need to thoroughly reform the income tax system to bring back an equitable distribution

Sent to New York Times relevant to Don't Mind the Gap

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