Premise 1: All environmental laws disproportionately affect the cost of living for the poor, the lower middle class, & the middle-middle class as the cost of the most basic goods, food, housing, transportation, and wage rates are directly distorted.
Premise 2: Any environmental law not justified by the effect on the actual environment is justified by an environmental political ideology and thus cannot be rationally argued with but can only be stopped by political opposition.
Taking both premises and the fact that there has been no truly effective political opposition to environmental ideology since it began full scale on earth day 1970, it is obvious to me that the main perpetrator of income inequality in the last 50 years has been the ideological imposition of unnecessary environmental laws. Take the famous “stagflation” of the Carter years. Carter was the first President to press an extreme environmental agenda. He had inherited a soft economy from the post-Viet Nam era. However, a mysterious stagflation was occurring which none of the economic theories of the time could explain. Carter himself decided to blame the American people insisting they had a “malaise”. I was out selling scientific instruments in the “rust belt”. We had a whole new branch of the business opened up to us with EPA certified instruments designed to monitor the environment and provide the EPA with environmental “audits” from major industries. As I rode up and down the Ohio Turnpike between Detroit and Pittsburgh, I noticed people living in cardboard boxes under the underpasses. Unemployment was hitting 11% putting an incredible downforce on wages. Carter would only talk about the environment and the malaise.
Since that time all of our huge wage-related productivity increases have been absorbed by this twisted environmental obsession. Green industries, as they have been called, are by and large fantasies of the ideologues. They are economic losers even with the massive government investment in both research and direct subsidy. The poor, the lower middle class, and even the middle middle-class have had ideological environmental leeches applied to their standard of living holding them back. Of course, the wealthy who spend only a tiny percentage of their income on basic commodities, go unaffected. Even a flat tax would be more equitably spread between rich & poor.
Thus over time, massive income inequality is produced by an economy grotesquely distorted by environmental ideology.