Everything you know about income inequality, poverty, and other measures of economic well-being in America is wrong. In this provocative book, a former United States senator, eminent economist, and a former senior leader at the Bureau of Labor Statistics challenge the prevailing consensus that income inequality is a growing threat to American society. By taking readers on a deep dive into the way government measures economic well-being, they demonstrate that our official statistics dramatically overstate inequality. Getting the facts straight reveals that the key measures of well-being are greater than the official statistics of the country would lead us to believe. Income inequality is lower today than at any time in post- World War II America. The facts reveal a very different and better America than the one that is currently described by policy advocates across much of the political spectrum. The Myth of American Inequality provides clear and convincing evidence that the American Dream is alive and well.
Phil Gramm served six years in the US House of Representatives and eighteen years in the US Senate where he was Chairman of the Banking Committee. Gramm is a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was Vice Chairman of UBS Investment Bank and is now Vice Chairman of Lone Star Funds. He taught Economics at Texas A&M University and has published numerous articles and books. Gramm lives in the Helotes, Texas.
Bob Ekelund is currently professor and eminent scholar in economics (emeritus) at Auburn University, beginning his career at Texas A&M University. He is the author of more than 20 books and several hundred articles on the history of economic theory, economic history and economic policy in the specific areas of art, religion, and regulation. He lives and works in Auburn, Alabama.
John Early is a mathematical economist who began working as a legislative assistant to a US Senator and assistant commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has served in senior leadership positions in global consultancies on quality and financial performance and as chief customer and strategy officer for a Fortune 100 company. His publications include improving measurements of price change, labor force dynamics, and improving healthcare. He lives joyfully in Charleston, South Carolina.
Chapter 1: Every Official Measure Understates America’s Wellbeing
Chapter 2: Inequality in Producing and Consuming in America
Chapter 3: Poverty in America
Chapter 4: Trends
Chapter 5: Causes of Earned Income Inequality
Chapter 6: Measures of Wellbeing
Chapter 7: Super Rich
Chapter 8: Mobility
Chapter 9: Fifty Years of Growth
Chapter 10: Solutions
About the Authors
For an impeccably researched book that backs up... findings with overwhelming evidence, consult The Myth of American Inequality[.]
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.
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.
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 acomeback.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
[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.
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.
11/15/22, Reuters: The book was pictured in this article.