Progress For The Poor? That's Rich

Paul Craig Roberts, in "Trickle-down triumph: In the '80s, the poor got. . . richer" (Economic Viewpoint, July 13), makes the significant point that during the Reagan years, "the rich got a little richer and the poor got much richer" when tracked on an individual basis. There is no question that Governor Bill Clinton is in error when he claims that "during the 1980s the wealthiest 1% of Americans got 70% of the gains."

It is also clear, however, that the income gap between the lowest and highest quintiles of the U.S. population widened during the 1980s, and this is a matter of concern even if the individuals making up those groups changed during the period. By ignoring this factor, Roberts joins Governor Clinton as someone who is prepared to use statistics "to prove whatever it is that he wants to prove."

Charles V. Sheehan

Highlands, N.C.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.