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A 'Yawning Gap Between the Haves and the Have-Nots,' Laments a New York Times 'News' Story

With Wednesday's "Costs Seen In Income Inequality," New York Times economics reporter Annie Lowrey got on the paper's liberal hobby horse of income inequality, which has the imprimatur of Executive Editor Jill Abramson, who promised to make such issues a priority.

Lowrey's article was a classic of the genre, with loose talk of "the haves and the have-nots" more at home in a left-wing op-ed than a news article, though the phrasing occures regularly in the Times' alleged news sections.

Income inequality has soared to the highest levels since the Great Depression, and the recession has done little to reverse the trend, with the top 1 percent of earners taking 93 percent of the income gains in the first full year of the recovery.

The yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots -- and the political questions that gap has raised about the plight of the middle class -- has given rise to anti-Wall Street sentiment and animated the presidential campaign. Now, a growing body of economic research suggests that it might mean lower levels of economic growth and slower job creation in the years ahead, as well.

Lowrey bolstered two left-wing economists by calling them "respected economists."

Since the 1980s, rich households in the United States have earned a larger and larger share of overall income. The 1 percent earns about one-sixth of all income and the top 10 percent about half, according to statistics compiled by the respected economists Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics.

For years, economists have thought of such inequality in part as a side effect of policies that fostered the country’s economic dynamism -- its tax preferences for investment income, for instance. And organizations like the World Bank and the I.M.F., which is based in Washington, have generally not tackled inequality in the world head on.

But economists’ thinking has changed sharply in recent years. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development this year warned about the “negative consequences” of the country’s high levels of pay inequality, and suggested an aggressive series of changes to tax and spending programs to tackle it.

"Aggressive series of changes to tax and spending programs" sounds like a euphemism for higher taxes and more spending.

In the last few years, research by the Brookings Institution, the I.M.F. and dozens of economists at top research universities has started to coalesce into a compelling narrative.

"Compelling" for liberal reporters at the Times, perhaps.