James Pethokoukis is up today over at AEI with an interesting piece on the Democrat focus on income inequality. The gist of his argument is economic satisfaction in the middle class tends to be based on relative rather than absolute advantage; that is, people judge the economy by how well they’re doing compared to their neighbors, not last year.
That quote immediately brought to mind the “keeping up with the Joneses” effect found in the economic literature where individual happiness, at least for the middle-class, depends on relative rather than absolute wealth. Therefore rising income inequality would keep the 99% miserable even with rising take-home pay. Now who has been banging the drum about inequality and how rich are gobbling up all the income gains? Democrats, mostly.
He further makes the point if voters are unhappy with the economy, they are unlikely to blame Republicans as Democrats have been in power for the last 6 years.
Something to think about. “Hoist on their own petard” does have a nice ring to it.