Income Inequality Explored: Wage Gap Overlooks Government Intervention

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with John F. Early, economist and author of the newly released book, The Myth of American Inequality, about the history of income inequality, its true size, and trends. They also discuss how census data used in policy decision-making misses nearly all the effects of government intervention and distorts the truth about the income American families actually have to spend.


John F. Early is a mathematical economist, president of the consultancy Vital Few, LLC, and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. Early has also served twice as assistant commissioner at the Bureau of Labor Statistics where he directed the statistical design, economic analysis, and survey operations for the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), Point of Purchase Survey (POPS), and estimates of pre-retail price changes. He is the co-author of the forthcoming The Myth of American Inequality with Senator Phil Gramm and Robert Ekelund (Rowman & Littlefield, September 2022). Their book expands on Early’s Cato Institute research that found that official government statistics substantially overstate income inequality and poverty. Early has published more than 70 other papers, working papers, and articles at the Juran Institute, Encyclopedia of Statistical Sciences, National Bureau of Economic Research, Journal of the American Statistical Society, the Brookings Institution, and the American Society for Quality. Early holds a BS in economics and political science from Rice University and an MA in international political economy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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