Income and Wealth

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Why some people are rich and others poor can be explained in a number of ways. Income and Wealth focuses on who gets what and why. It explains the dynamics of income generation, how it is measured, and how such dramatic disparities in distribution come about. The book first defines various characteristics of income, with an emphasis on the gap between the rich and the poor, and reviews several theories to explain the disparities. Subsequent chapters discuss such timely topics as the vanishing middle class and the sky-high salaries of CEOs, Hollywood stars, and athletes. The final chapters consider the implications of policies, such as the minimum wage, taxes, immigration, and trade quotas, and expand the discussion to consider international comparisons. Featuring graphs and charts, a glossary of key terms, and a listing of references and resources, Income and Wealth explains the intricate, and often controversial, effects of economic policies on individuals, families, and communities. Moreover, it shows how the numbers can be manipulated by policymakers, pundits, journalists, and academics to promote various agendas—and shows readers how to recognize hyberbole and make better-informed decisions.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Reynolds challenges many so-called myths held by academics, columnists, and public affairs junkies concerning inequities in the recent growth of individual income and wealth in the US. Beginning with a useful, lucid-to-the-general-reader chapter on concepts and measures, this book is intended to show that the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the US is mainly the result of the number of workers in households and their age and education, and that the so-called disappearance of the middle class is more statistical than actual. In fact, Reynolds contends that since 1973 total labor compensation has been increasing and that the distribution of consumption expenditures by income class points to a reduction in inequality as compared with 1986. A critical chapter refutes recent literature concerning huge increases in income going to the top 1 percent of taxpayers as being due merely to changes in tax laws. Reynolds also addresses the minimum wage, taxes, immigration, international trade, and globalization. The book excels in charts and tables, glossary of terms, and references, including online resources. An extremely useful addition to the literature in the ongoing conservative-liberal debate on the distribution of US income and wealth. Highly recommended. General readers; academic audiences, upper-division undergraduate and up; professionals." - Choice

"Income and Wealth is stunning in its revelations and its deflations of popular Democratic superstitions….Reynolds, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, is an economist of acute precision. For years he has defended the capitalist way of doing things, and this volume is a high tribute to his championship of basic American ideas." - National Review Online

"Alan Reynolds has produced a most important examination of one of the dominant political myths for this current two-year run-up to the 2008 presidential election….Mr. Reynolds argues persuasively in Income and Wealth that poverty and wealth in America are not directly related to each other; the poor are not poor because of the well-to-do. Moreover, both the upper one percent and lowest 10 percent of incomes are affected by unrelated dynamics that have nothing to do with the Democratic nostrum of income redistribution via tax remedies--Robin Hood-onomics….In easily accessible prose, he shows us how the two Americas crowd is messing with our minds with its statistical fabrications….Whether the truths revealed by Mr. Reynolds will silence the two Americas myth will depend on how widely his book gets circulated in this coming year. The truth may set us free after all." - The Washington Times/The American Spectator

"[E]xplodes much of the downbeat economic conventional wisdom." - The Salt Lake Tribune

"The election season, once again, brought up the myth that Americans are worse off because inequality of income has been increasing in the United States. Myths are harmless in literature. But if Democrats, like Rep. Nancy Pelosi, start using it as evidence for raising taxes when the new Congress reconvenes, there is potential for real damage to the economy and to our living standards. Cato Institute senior fellow Alan Reynolds' new volume Income and Wealth assembles facts to explain and understand this myth, using figures from the Statistical Abstract of the United States. Reynolds also provides a clear guide to the countless academic studies on the subject." - New York Post

"As part of a series aiming to improve economic literacy and decision- making, this volume is meant for general readers, high school and college students, or as a review for graduate students and those in business. Reynolds provides a guide to the growth and distribution of income and wealth in the US. He addresses statistics purported by the press and economists, arguing that these perspectives are often influenced by a misunderstanding of basic concepts and measures. He then explains those concepts and measures, as well as work and income, the idea that the middle class is declining, and claims that average wages have not increased, and includes a discussion of the income of the top one percent. He discusses CEOs and stock options, the distribution of wealth, using consumption as a measure of living standards, and recommendations to fix wage or income inequality." - Reference & Research Book News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313336881
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/30/2006
  • Series: Greenwood Guides to Business and Economics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Reynolds is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute and was formerly Director of Economic Research at the Hudson Institute. He served as Research Director with the National Commission on Tax Reform and Economic Growth, as advisor to the National Commission on the Cost of Higher Education, and as a member of the OMB transition team in 1981. His studies have been published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Joint Economic Committee, the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and St. Louis, and the Australian Stock Exchange. Author of The Microsoft Antitrust Appeal (2001), he has written for numerous publications since 1971, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, National Review, The New Republic, Fortune, and the Harvard Business Review. A former columnist with Forbes and Reason, his weekly column is now nationally syndicated.

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