Americans are egalitarian. This trait has long frustrated plutocrats who, more than a century ago, invented Social Darwinism to teach that the rich prospered because they were smart and productive. Few people believed this, not then and not now.
A new Census Bureau report released last week showed that since 2009 economic gains have accrued only to the top 5 percent of households; the rest have gained almost nothing; poverty remains high and inequality has worsened. Yet libertarians still ask: Does inequality matter? Is our fondness for equality good economics or does it stand in the way of creativity, hard work and just rewards?