Trump is Wrong on Growth & Inequality

Great podcast discussion (especially the first segment) on economic inequality in America:

In France, the bottom 50 percent of real, inflation-adjusted pretax incomes grew by 32 percent from 1980 to 2014. So in America the bottom 50 percent of pretax stagnated. In France it grew by 32 percent, which was approximately the same rate as national income per adult. So France has had slower growth, but if you are in the bottom 50 percent you have gotten a lot more of it. So one thing this leads to is while the bottom 50 percent of incomes were 11 percent lower in France than in the US in 1980, they are now 16 percent higher. So while France is still poorer than America, including on a per person basis, you are now better off in the bottom 50 percent of France than you are in the bottom 50 percent of America. That feels pretty damning to me.

YGLESIAS: Yes, and these guys [the authors of the paper] are French so they pull that example out, I think, to troll us, but as best we can tell France is neither the richest nor the most egalitarian European country. If you count for leisure time these things can start to take on a quite dark hue. Americans have many fewer vacation days than French people, which is a plausible social tradeoff, but you would expect Americans to have higher material living standard than people who get two months off a year. That would be the tradeoff, and we are really not getting it particularly for people at the bottom end.