HP, like you don't claim inequality is not increasing at least to some degree I don't disagree that by some measures life is getting better for all. Wages are down for people in the lower income brackets, but technological advancements make like better for poor people as well. Productivity gains are enjoyed to a very tiny degree by the poor relative to the amount enjoyed by the rich.
I just think that we should consider an alternative system. As I said, life may have gotten better in slave societies with time, but this doesn't mean there isn't a better alternative. But instead of moving in a direction that will make it such that the poor also enjoy the gains in productivity we have a President that has enacted a tax policy that only raises taxes on the poorest Americans. There are changes to the estate tax that exacerbate the inequality situation. And in addition to that we have a tax holiday on social security taxes, which jeopardizes a program that is relied on heavily by the poor and prevents total destitution amongst the poorest of Americans.
Take a look at who it is that is enjoying economic growth these days with a couple of charts.
Here's another illustrating the same point.
You say no big deal. Yeah, inequality is for real, but it's not that bad. It's not bad in the sense that everyone is doing a little better. The poor have gained $200 in their income in the last 25 years. That's better. But why have a system that funnels virtually all economic growth into the pockets of a tiny minority? We know we can do better. We've done better in the past.
With regards to immigration, yes it does appear that the article from Cafe Hayek was mistaken to characterize Bourjas in the way they did. But I think there's a need to quantify the effect on wages. Look to the charts above. The disparity is enormous. This goes back to my prior point about how it seems you believe you can dismiss the importance of inequality merely because single motherhood is increasing or immigration is increasing. It's as if under these conditions you would assume it's impossible to know if inequality is a problem. The top 10% have enjoyed 63% of the income gains while the bottom 20% enjoyed 0.4% of the income gains. We expect the rich to gain more under any system. If all income groups enjoy a 5% increase that means most of the money goes to those at the top. That's perfectly reasonable. But at 0.4% the bottom 20% are getting almost nothing. Immigration can explain a tiny amount, but not all.
Also note that while immigrants start with a low income their increase in income as the years go by outpaces increases amongst natives. See a study here. So these are counterbalancing forces. As I said the key is to quantify the total effect. It may be positive in terms of reducing inequality when that is considered.
Now, consider your claim that involves a study that says if you merely consider health care costs the inequality gap disappears. That's nonsense as you would have to admit because you believe inequality is increasing. This study is flawed. The other thing I would point to is that the study seems to be arguing, based on your description, that with the rise in health care costs in fact total compensation considerations eliminate the inequality gap. So for their calculations they presume that health care costs are rising. If the compensation is corrected for inflation though that should mean that compensation doesn't change with rising health care costs. The fact that they say that it does would suggest they are doing it wrong.
I don't agree that it is my burden to research every speculative claim you offer in your attempts to explain inequality. Imagine that I explain the motivations of suicide terrorists by pointing to foreign military occupation and you reply "Did you investigate the possibility that brain boring bacteria may be prevalent in Islamic states? Go do some research and figure that one out and until you do I'm entitled to dismiss your claim." Mine is the position of the majority of economists and is the prima facie conclusion based on an analysis of income data. That's not to say that other causes are not relevant in explaining the data, but I think the ball is in your court to prove any claims about Britney Spears wannabes or Sergey Brin wannabes.
Regarding the rates at which the people with a college degree marry people without, I asked about the causes and you say this is specifically explained in the article. You cite the article. In that citation I see no explanation other than the repeated assertion about a striking decline since the 70's. Do you consider this an explanation? An assertion that this has happened since the 70's is not an explanation of the causes, nor does it give us the information we would need to consider whether there was some sort of correlation.
You say this fits my pattern calling for drastic changes in the 70's and 80's. First, we can't see the rates in your article, so I don't know why you're drawing that conclusion. Second, you imply that the rate reduced in the 90's. But inequality is still increasing in the 90's and in the 21st century. So this pattern does not fit the inequality that we are seeing.
Should you dismiss EPI or Huffington Post as I dismiss AEI? If they provide no argument, like AEI, then yes. Everybody wants to be a pop star, and my evidence is zero. That's quite weak coming from a group that takes thousands in tobacco money in order to put out studies on the virtues and glories of tobacco which kills hundreds of thousands of people per year in the US alone.
I think that if people read your blog they'd see which of us has the worldview commitment to an economic position. Not that I think that's relevant. It presumes to know your motives. It presumes to say that you have a prior commitment to an economic argument independent of the evidence. Maybe you do and maybe you don't. Regardless I think that's for the reader to decide. My speculating about your motives just isn't value added in my opinion. People can read your arguments and draw their own conclusions about your motives. I think you'd be better served doing the same, but suit yourself. The substantive portions of your replies are definitely value added and welcome here. I don't agree with you but I am learning.