Being rich ain’t what it used to be

My friend Andy Kessler has a fantastic piece in the WSJ shifting the discussion over income inequality to a discussion of consumption.

Yes, some people have more than others. Yet as far as millionaires and billionaires are concerned, they’re experiencing a horrifying revolution: consumption equality. For the most part, the wealthy bust their tail, work 60-80 hour weeks building some game-changing product for the mass market, but at the end of the day they can’t enjoy much that the middle class doesn’t also enjoy. Where’s the fairness? What does Google founder Larry Page have that you don’t have?

Andy’s piece is a great read, but given space constraints it’s light on data. For the datanauts we can turn to Attanasio et al and their fine book Inequality in Living Standards Since 1980, and to Bruce Meyer and James Sullivan’s paper on the material well-being of the poor and middle class since 1980.

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