The top five states with the highest income inequality rates all voted to reelect President Barack Obama, though no state boasted a higher rate of inequality than Washington, D.C. This ia according to a study released this week by MoneyRates.com.
The study used data from the Bureau of Labor statistics to measure how many times more money the top-earning income bracket of a state made than bottom earners. Researchers compared the top 25th percentile earner to the bottom 25th percentile earner and divided the sums into each other, then ranked states by number. California, in which a top 25th percentile earner makes 2.55 times more than a bottom 25th percentile earner, is by far the most unequal state, followed by New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and President Obama’s home state of Illinois.
In Washington, D.C., however, a top 25th percentile earner makes 2.6 times the amount of money a bottom 25th percentile earner makes, which represents the biggest gap in the nation. Maryland and Virginia both make the top ten group of biggest gaps in income, and Maryland experienced the largest gap increase in the past decade of any state: 12.05%. Breitbart News has previously reported that eight of the 13 wealthiest counties in the U.S.A. are in the D.C. region. Texas and Louisiana are the only red states in the top ten.
The state with the least income inequality is South Dakota, where a worker in the top 25th percentile makes only 1.89 times the money someone in the bottom 25th percentile makes. Maine and Vermont, both blue states, follow suit. Iowa and New Hampshire, at seven and eight on the list, round out the blue states in the study with lowest income gaps. Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Nebraska also are among the top ten most equal.
Richard Barrington, the researcher who published the report, explained on MoneyRates.com that the research points to two findings: Democrats are more sensitive to income inequality because it is more prevalent in states that elect them, and economic inequality is not necessarily a bad thing for the state’s economy. Barrington explains that, since “people in states who supported Obama are experiencing more income inequality than people in other states,” and those people also tend to vote Democrat, the Democratic Party has an incentive to vocalize concerns that Republican constituents deal with less often.
Barrington them completely rejects what those Democrats are arguing: that income inequality is a problem that must be solved. “[D]ifferences in income are a natural condition of a capitalist society,” Barrington writes, adding that the study corroborates the claim that “incentives created by income inequality make the economy more dynamic,” and that “a reasonable degree of income inequality is actually good for a state’s prosperity.” He notes that the median worker in more unequal states makes more money than the median worker in other states.
Opponents of the President’s crusade against income equality have long argued that wealth redistribution solves no economic problems, using evidence from the President’s own policies to prove that policies that require wasteful government spending actually increase the gap between the rich and poor. Government spending has caused an internal devaluation of the dollar that suppresses wages. Pro-corporation tax loopholes and globalization have done even more to increase the wealth gap, increasing corporate profits while tearing the floor out from under the American laborer. Economic policies are not the only thing coming out of the Obama administration that has contributed to income inequality; a study by the union Unite Here concluded that the Affordable Care Act will actively make income inequality worse by cutting wages and weakening employers.
Nonetheless, the White House is determined to make income inequality a pivotal issue for years to come, with President Obama calling it “the defining challenge of our time.” Press Secretary Jay Carney denied that the Obama administration’s policies damaged income inequality when confronted with the question, suggesting instead that the uptick in the wage gap began under President George W. Bush. Not all on staff stuck to the message so strictly; one pollster publicly described income inequality as an issue that was “a bit overhyped.”