Business Columnist Jim Landers: Wealth and resentment

SMU Business Lecturer Mike Davis is quoted in a Dallas Morning News column on income disparities.

By Jim Landers

WASHINGTON — Income inequality is increasing in America. The rich are getting richer, the poor are falling behind. Income inequality in Dallas, for example, is now the eighth highest for any city in America, according to a recent Census Bureau report. Household incomes in Dallas, measured by a formula called the Gini Index, are less equal than in Mexico.

Is that a problem?

Not necessarily, said Mike Davis, a senior lecturer at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

“Americans don’t mind income inequality, because they think at some point they’re going to be at the top,” he said. “If you live in a time when people are relatively hopeful, they don’t mind looking out there and seeing the Cadillacs and the country clubs. But if people are saying there’s just no way I can own my own home or get out of debt, then you begin to see resentment.”

That resentment is evident in the Occupy Wall Street protests and the drive by President Barack Obama and other Democrats to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans say that this is the politics of division and class warfare and that Americans are guaranteed equality of opportunity, not of outcomes.

Read the full column.

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