An ‘Inconvenient Truth’: Income Inequality

In his New York Times column, Charles M. Blow asks if income inequality is becoming the new global warming, after a poll found most Americans don't see a rich-poor divide.

Occupy Wall Street Day of Action Against Foreclosures (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Occupy Wall Street Day of Action Against Foreclosures (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Is income inequality becoming the new global warming? Charles M. Blow raises that question in his New York Times column after reading the results of a new poll in which a high percentage of Americans say that they do not believe the country is divided between rich and poor.

A Gallup poll released on Thursday found that, after rising rather steadily for the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who said that the country is divided into “haves” and “have-nots” took the largest drop since the question was asked.

This happened even as the percentage of Americans who grouped themselves under either label stayed relatively constant. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans still see themselves as the haves, while only about a third see themselves as the have-nots. The numbers have been in that range for a decade.

This is the new American delusion. The facts point to a very different reality.

An Associated Press report this week on census data found that “a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.” The report said that the data “depict a middle class that’s shrinking.”

Read Charles M. Blow’s entire column at the New York Times.