analysis by the Cato Institute’s John F. Early used
comprehensive date of how taxes and government payments affect
U.S. income distribution. Added to census income was roughly $1
trillion from annual government spending not currently counted
in the U.S. Census Bureau’s income-distribution tables. Items
Medicaid, food stamps, the earned-income tax credit, and 85
other federal payments and services, along with similar state
and local income supplements. Then
federal, state and local taxes paid were
leaving usable income.
Trump Voters Understood
Government Help Poor So Much Working Provide Little Gain
as little income variability among the bottom sixty percent.
Not Working Plus Safety Net = Working for Too Many
Why Trump Won
Bottom quintile earnings share
rose from 2.2% to 12.9%
Second quintile share rose from
quintile middle-income quintile rose
from 12.6% to only 15.4%
Fourth quintile’s share
from 20.5% to 18.6%
quintile share fell from 57.7% to 39.3%.
Top to bottom multiple
from 26 times to three times
In addition work effort increased moving up the income ladder as
more family members worked and more worked two jobs.
is a former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Mr. Ekelund
is a professor emeritus in economics at Auburn University. This
article is adapted from a forthcoming book, “Freedom and
Inequality.” Mike Solon and John Early contributed to this
Appeared in the June 25, 2018, print edition.
There was little income variability among the bottom sixty
percent. Many hardworking
middle and lower-middle-income families recognized their efforts
gain them little over government transfer recipients.
Some could resent that people who don’t work are about as well
off as they are. Many felt disrespected and alienated.
an injustice and voted for