Hillary Clinton Gets Inequality Right

by Ramesh Ponnuru

in this exchange with Der Spiegel:

SPIEGEL: The average annual income of an American household is $22,296 (€16,397). You earn up to $200,000 an hour for a speech. Can you understand if people are bothered by that?

Clinton: Well, certainly, I can understand that, but that’s never been the crux of the concern in our country, because we’ve always had people who did better than other people. That’s just accepted. The problem is that people on the bottom and people in the middle class no longer feel like they have the opportunity to do better. The question is, how do we get back to having an economy that works for everybody and that once again gives people the optimism that they too will be successful.

In other words, inequality per se is not the defining challenge of our time, whatever certain incumbent presidents sometimes say. Creating the conditions for broad-based prosperity is. She’s right on the merits — if, I’m sure, wrong about how to go about that task — and right on the politics as well, since very few voters care much about inequality.

(Via Daniel Halper, whose book Clinton Inc. comes out later this month.)