Who's getting ahead, who's falling behind, and why?
They are questions that grip us in fits and starts. Author Douglas Coupland worried in his 1991 novel "Generation X" about "Brazilification," or the widening gulf between rich and poor and the disappearance of the middle class, but much of that anxiety faded by the late 1990s as workers benefited from a long-running expansion. Then the tech bubble burst, and by 2004 Democrat John Edwards was able to campaign for president on the argument that there are "two Americas" -- one for the ultrarich, and one for everyone else.
To what extent should we be worried about the distribution of economic gains? The Wall Street Journal Online asked economists Heather Boushey of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Russell Roberts of George Mason University to debate to what degree inequality exists, and just how much it matters for the economy and society.
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13.03.06 Lasse Burholt