The co-hosts of The Five did their best today to make light of a recently released CBO report that starkly illustrates the growing income inequality in the United States. Here are what the co-hosts (other than the lone progressive on the show, Bob Beckel) were saying about the report:
ERIC BOLLING (co-host): Everyone's doing better.
GREG GUTFELD (co-host): The big news here is that people moved from class to class. It is not a static class-warfare problem. People moved from lower to middle, middle to upper. That's the real story, it's a happy story.
ANDREA TANTAROS (co-host): So what. Who cares? You know what? This administration is so focused on one of the seven deadly sins: greed. That's all they focus on. They don't focus on the other one like envy. You know what, it's time that people actually get off their butts and work.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE (co-host): This is a positive report. This show, like Greg said, that there's movement, that people are jumping from one class to the next. Isn't this what America's about? To try and do better? To want to be the person that does better for your family, for yourself? To encourage people to go out there and work hard? That's the American Dream. And when you have money, it's easier to make money.
Bolling even brought up the United States Gini index, an inequality metric that measures distribution of family income in a country with scores ranging from 20 to 70, higher measures detailing greater national inequality. Bolling asserted: "We are smack dab in the middle of it, there's no indication that any system works better or worse. It's simply a matter of economic opportunity, and we have a lot."
But the Gini index actually shows that the United States is doing very poorly on the income inequality scale. According to the CIA, the United States ranks 39 out of 135 nations plus the European Union, with a Gini score of 45.0. To put that in perspective, according to Gini indexing only 38 nations suffer more economic inequality then the U.S, putting America in the same ballpark with the likes of Cameroon and Bulgaria. And like the CBO report, Gini details growing economic inequality within the U.S., as the Gini coefficient was 40.8 in 1997.
And the CBO report itself says that the gap between rich and poor is growing.
According to the CBO, shares of income after transfers and federal taxes have decreased for four out of the five income quintiles in America, with only the highest quintile enjoying an after-tax income increase in its share of income being the highest income quintile. From the CBO:
The share of after-tax household income for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income more than doubled, climbing from nearly 8 percent in 1979 to 17 percent in 2007.
The population in the lowest income quintile received about 7 percent of after-tax income in 1979; by 2007, their share of after-tax income had fallen to about 5 percent. The middle three income quintiles all saw their shares of after-tax income decline by 2 to 3 percentage points between 1979 and 2007.
Furthermore, the CBO says that "an increasing concentration of market income" was the primary reason for the growing income inequality, but U.S tax system and government transfers were also contributors:
Although an increasing concentration of market income was the primary force behind growing inequality in the distribution of after-tax household income, shifts in government transfers (cash payments to individuals and estimates of the value of in-kind benefits) and federal taxes also contributed to that increase in inequality. CBO estimates that the dispersion of market income grew by about one-quarter between 1979 and 2007,while the dispersion of after-tax income grew by about one-third.