Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Rank Fallacies of Willis Hart #2: Bernie Sanders Truth-Telling Re Poor & Middle Class Being Worse Off

This commentary concerns an 8/22/2015 post by the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart in which he calls out Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for a number of supposed "fallacies" that aren't fallacies.

The first of these bogus claims by Hart was that Bernie Sanders said "the economy is a fixed pie and that the only real question is how to divvy it up". This is something Senator Sanders has never said. He speaks of income inequality, not divvying up fixed pies (see OST #68 for my full response).

The second of Willis' phony "rank fallacies" as follows.

Willis Hart: The Rank Fallacies of Bernie Sanders... b) That the poor and middle class are worse off than they were decades ago. (8/22/2015 AT 3:13pm)

The poor and middle class ARE worse off than they were decades ago... relatively speaking. Bernie Sanders has never claimed that they are worse off in absolute terms.

As illustrated in the charts below, clearly middle and lower class incomes have been steadily declining... on a relative basis. Bernie Sanders speaks of a "40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else", and (as these charts show) this ABSOLUTELY is the case.

The rank fallacy spreader here is Willis Hart. Although the economy continues to grow, most of those gains have gone to the top, with the middle class losing ground since 2010 (The Lost Decade of the Middle Class: Fewer, Poorer, Gloomier) and the poor actually being worse off than they were in 1983.

Image1: The middle class's share of aggregate income has fallen. Relatively speaking, the middle class is worse off than they were decades ago. (source of chart: Census Report Shows Middle Class Decline in 2011 by Benjamin Landy. The Century Foundation 9/13/2012).

Image2: This chart shows that in recent decades the rich are getting richer, the middle class and poor got richer, then poorer... with the poor worse off in 2010 than they were in 1983... so poor households are worse off than they were decades ago, both in relative and absolute terms. (Chart source: The Lost Decade of the Middle Class. Pew Research Center 8/22/2012).

OST #70

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