Bob Evans declares “class war”

UBC’s Bob Evans, a national treasure, reviews the data on income inequality as context for the attack on public health insurance in this recent article in Healthcare Policy. The abstract:

From World War to Class War: The Rebound of the Rich

Incomes in Canada, as in many other countries, are becoming increasingly unequal. In North America this process has several notable features. First, after 40 years of stability, income has since 1980 been increasingly concentrated in the hands of the top 0.01% of earners. Second, this concentration correlates with an explosion in the relative earnings of corporate CEOs, a sort of “corporate kleptocracy.” Third, the top earners have appropriated most of the productivity gains over this period. The resources and political influence of the super-rich underlie the growing prominence of the “elite” agenda: lower taxes, smaller government and privatization or shrinkage of social programs. The marketing of this agenda may explain much of the nonsense that contaminates health policy debates.

There is not that much that is new in this article for those who have been following the inequality literature (most notably, Piketty and Saez on top incomes in the US and Saez and Veall for Canada, and more here). But I love Evans’s flair for language and this is a nice, easy-to-read summary of developments. It is truly astonishing how the richest Canadians and Americans have made out over the past quarter-century, even as almost everyone continues to think of themselves as middle class.

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