That's an aphorism, not an axiom. That's folk wisdom, not actual fact. It's fairly obviously not an economic law or anything, and can trivially be shown to be false in other ways(for instance, rich not getting richer, as has happened in other circumstances long before this). It's not as if this was the first recession or anything.
Shit, you've got all the various communist revolutions if you want to focus on the "government can affect distribution of wealth" claim. Pretty much nobody disputes that countries have affected that, or can. The argument is solely on the *should*, which this does not address. Surely nobody is claiming that more recessions should happen, after all. Well, nobody sane, anyway.
Therefore, all conclusions drawn are trivial, and it provides no additional insight to the actual source of the disagreement.
Look, if you're gonna sit around and deny that income inequality means anything at all, at least provide some papers. It's incredibly boring to sit around and deny things to each other. What percent of economists think income inequality is worthless as a metric? How many economists back your position? Are you claiming that no evidence exists at all that income inequality affects economic growth, socioeconomic mobility, or has a corrosive effect on our society?
I don't see anyone claiming that income inequality has no meaning at all; they're simply pointing out to you that overall wealth inequality is a far more useful measurement. If you make a million dollars a year and you take a 20% pay cut, and your neighbor makes $20,000 a year and takes a 10% pay cut, which of you is better off?
The point is, yes - in terms of general income, the wealthy took a harder hit in terms of raw numbers than the poor - but that's simple mathematics. And let's be clear - the truly wealthy aren't typically concerned with income
The reality is that over the past several years, the top 1% of wealth owners have increased their share of overall wealth. Unemployment and underemployment are absolutely rampant right now. There are more people dependent on government assistance than at any other point in our history. There is nothing good about that.
This paper is still important because unlike you, there are people out there that believe any attempt to correct income inequality is equated with communism...like you just did. The data shows income inequality can be changed by government policies and still not turn into a marxist utopia.
First off, to say that income inequality has been "corrected" is a fairly brazen exaggeration. Yeah, the highest incomes have come down a little; but there is still an absolutely enormous gap between the wealthy and the middle class. It's like saying that if Lamborghini cut their prices by 5% that they'd be closer to Honda... it may be technically true, but it has no practical meaning for anyone.
Even if income inequality does not correlate with bad outcomes, it will still affect you. Economists who do believe that income inequality is bad will see this data and say that more policies like it are needed because the current ones are ending. Don't be so blind to opposing viewpoints as to stick your head into the sand. A libertarian may hate foreign adventurism, but he still has to pay the war taxes. Same thing applies here.
Again, you have to look at the bigger picture. Income is only a small part of the story. The folks at the top can generally afford to take a sizable hit to their income, still have expendable capital, and perhaps most critically, still manage to increase their savings. The folks on the bottom who are scraping by paycheck to paycheck often find themselves still scraping by even after an increase. The first guy, even though his income may have gone lower, is still amassing wealth; the second guy is not.
Over the past decade the percentage of wealth owned by the top 1% has increased. This has not slowed in the Obama years; it has actually increased.
Lastly, you're strawmanning me when you're claiming that I'm in favor of recessions.
The original article included a fairly large strawman: “For those who think government programs never work, maybe they need to think again.”
Nobody thinks that government programs never work. A lot of us think they work poorly, or do more harm than good; but you'd have to live in a cave somewhere to think that they don't work at all.
The housing bubble was the result of bad loans being made at the behest of government, in the interest of "fairness" to people who could not actually handle a large loan. That was an example of government "working" in a way that had an enormous impact on not only the national economy, but the global economy.
Then, after causing the crash, the government pissed nearly a trillion dollars into the wind. Some of that money helped people, yes; but the vast majority of the stimulus money went to large corporations where it stayed.
The bottom line is this... over the past several years the job market has, to put it simply, stunk. We have record numbers of people unemployed or underemployed. We have record numbers of people on welfare, food stamps, and other forms of assistance. We have utterly staggering record-shattering debt. None of these are good things. None of them things worth celebrating.
Yes, technically if you look purely at taxable income, the really wealthy have gone down and the really poor have gone up; but for most people the change is meaningless. In terms of actual wealth, the rich have gotten richer, and the poor have remained poor. If you factor in the cost of living, the poor are actually worse off than before - because stuff costs a lot more.
To be brutally honest, the whole article is a transparent attempt to make you feel good about what the government has done to "fix" a problem that, if anything, has gotten worse.