What makes this book an invaluable new resource for public policy and economic education is its focus on how the experiences of Americans of different living standards evolved over time and how earned income and consumption diverged for the poorest households. It traces improvements in the living standards of the poor to transfer programs, shows how taxation of the rich has flattened the distribution of consumption across households, and documents how measurement errors have distorted general beliefs about economic inequality.
But that’s not all. This book is written in straightforward American English, not in economic think-tank jargon. It shows clearly how each element of the analysis (taxation, transfers, inflation adjustment) contributes to its conclusions. Graphs and tables are comprehensive and comprehensible. The style is lively and lucid. The analysis probes deeply to demonstrate the robustness of its conclusions.
Most important, the authors don’t clutter their analysis with contentious approaches to measurement, and they limit their policy recommendations to those that flow self-evidently from the facts they document. It is encouraging that three disparate economists can together write an objective book about the measurement of living standards, poverty and inequality without engaging in partisan advocacy that undermines their findings.
The Myth of American Inequality will have a positive effect on the quality of policy discussions, and may well achieve its objective of changing the ways in which government agencies report information about American household income and consumption. At a time when partisan tribalism makes serious discussion almost impossible in Washington, this book shows that economics is still a powerful tool kit for informing and disciplining our thinking across the partisan divide.— Wall Street Journal
For an impeccably researched book that backs up... findings with overwhelming evidence, consult The Myth of American Inequality[.]— Forbes
Gramm, Ekelund, and Early are owed a debt of gratitude. With admirable clarity, their book demonstrates that the federal government egregiously overstates the degree of inequality and poverty in the world’s wealthiest nation. Skewed statistics have led to a skewed perception of life in America, and in turn to a skewed political debate on spending, taxing, and the social safety net. The Myth of American Inequality refutes the demagoguery, and convincingly shows that the gap between top and bottom is not wider than ever, but narrower.— Boston Globe
There is much more in Myth of American Inequality, including a close look at the rapid turnover in America’s economic hierarchy. Gramm’s strongest policy recommendation is simply for Congress to fix how the government measures income. Even Democrats might find something to like: As things are currently reported, Joe Biden had to deal with headlines showing record-high inequality during his first year in office while he was shoveling trillions of dollars in additional transfer payments out the door. But a better reason to fix how we measure inequality is simply that it is better to tell the truth.— National Review
From all those lists of best books of 2022, here’s one with the potential to change public policy debate and discourse for the better.— Washington Examiner
Phil Gramm, a seasoned politician and accomplished economist, recognizes government statistics that misdescribe reality. He demonstrates that the nation's condition is much better than it is portrayed by numbers misused to advance political agendas. Thanks to Gramm's mind-opening book, facts—you remember them: they used to appear in political debates—might make a— George F. Will
Phil Gramm elevates every argument he steps into. In this slim volume the former senator and his two distinguished coauthors undo the cozy myth of unfairness, lay their academic opponents flat, and unveil the shining potential America offers for all. Lucid, bold, and transformative, The Myth of Inequality gives us that missing primer needed on every inquiring high schooler's shelf.— Amity Shlaes, author, Great Society and The Forgotten Man
Our national debates about economic disparities are driven by government metrics that paint a distorted picture. The American Dream is not dead, and upward mobility is alive and well. In cogent, accessible prose, The Myth of American Inequality offers a useful and timely corrective to a popular narrative that is at odds with reality. Regardless of your politics, this book deserve to inform the conversation going forward.— Jason L. Riley, Wall Street Journal columnist and author of The Black Boom
Finally, a good news story about income inequality in America. Phil Gramm, Robert Ekelund, and John Early show that when properly measured, inequality is declining in the U.S., and the prosperity of people at the economic margins is rising. Read The Myth of American Inequality to be encouraged about the future of the American free enterprise system.— Arthur C. Brooks, professor, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, and #1 New York Times bestselling author
It’s not often you read a book that can have a significant effect on the future of our country. Gramm and his coauthors show that when all government transfer payments are counted as income for the recipients of these benefits and taxes paid are reported as income lost to those who pay them, government statistics dramatically overstate income inequality and the poverty rate. Contrary to current political rhetoric, income inequality is actually declining and poverty in America has almost been eliminated.— Frederick W. Smith, founder and executive chairman, FedEx
Alarmism about inequality from America's left has been a key political force dividing America for decades. This is the one book everyone should read about inequality. It is carefully researched. well written and respectful of the importance of the topic. It brings together a mountain of new and well documented evidence to show that misconceptions and lies about inequality have had a terrible impact on the lives of ordinary Americans. If we are to come together as a people, books like this that document the unbiased facts about important issues will be a driving force.— Kevin Hassett, 29th chairman and the President's Council of Economic Advisers and former senior advisor to the president
[An] impressive, clearly written book that can introduce everyday readers to the sausage-making process behind the numbers they see cited in the media. It also leaves room for disagreement about the authors' corrections to the official estimates, as well as their policy recommendations.... There are any number of ways to fix the official numbers, and Gramm et al.'s approach is just one of them. But they have done a stellar job of critiquing the statistics at the heart of so many economic debates and providing a thought-provoking alternative.— Washington Free Beacon
What would you say if someone told you that many academics, the US government, and the media overstate income inequality, understate the real income growth of US households, overstate poverty, and understate income mobility? If someone had asked me, I would have said I believe it. I’ve followed these issues, and even written about most of them. But on reading The Myth of American Inequality: How Government Biases Policy Debate, even I was blown away by the strength of the evidence for these conclusions.— Hoover Institution
[V]aluable…. In this authoritative volume, based largely on official statistics, former U.S. senator Phil Gramm and economists Robert Ekelund and John Early crack open the databases to examine the great mystery of poverty.— City Journal
What books do you think should be required reading? Because this book definitely makes my list. Phil Gramm, Robert Ekelund, and John Early authored this book to dispel a myth that we are often sold by the American Left. It’s a must-read.— Conservative Bookstore.Com
This book is written at a level that most high-school graduates can understand. Yet it has enough detail that it could be used as a college textbook. Best of all, it tells you most of what you need to know in the first twelve pages. It is a must read and a great reference for anyone engaging in the debate over income inequality in America and what, if anything, should be done about it.— Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
The federal government significantly and intentionally misreports income distribution, sparking bad policies and political divisions. That’s the argument former senator Phil Gramm and two other economists, Robert Ekelund and John Early, lay out in their compelling and essential new book, The Myth of American Inequality. .... Recognizing that numbers are just tools used to inform policy judgments that involve a range of unquantifiable values and concerns, the authors note that they intend their book to start rather than end a more rigorous debate about inequality and transfer payments. ... Facts may be stubborn things, but ideology may prove to be even more intractable.— RealClearPolitics