Readers React

How much of a problem is income inequality?

To the editor: Citing the increasing "wealth gap" as proof that our economic system "grossly favors the rich over ordinary working families," columnist David Lazarus offers nothing that would alter the trend. ("Wage stagnation puts the squeeze on ordinary workers," Dec. 28)

Whether one considers CEO compensation or simply the salaries of those who make enough to acquire assets, it should be obvious that those with discretionary income or assets will continue to widen the gap, and the system will continue to favor them. If such a system is inherently unjust, the entire American success story is not a success at all.

Lazarus is dismayed that the rich are getting richer while wages stagnate, and he would have us believe he has a clear view of what is fair and that it can be legislated. Alas, experience tells us otherwise.

Scott Perley, Irvine


To the editor: One need look no further than the front page of The Times' Business section on Sunday to see just how egregious the wealth gap in this country has become.

After reading Lazarus' disturbing column on wage stagnation, I glanced down the page to the "Hot Property" column, where I read, almost with disbelief, that the co-founder of Napster had purchased a home (previously owned by

Ellen DeGeneres) for $55 million.

What is wrong with this picture?

Stephen Bulka, Los Angeles


To the editor: In pointing out the increasing inequity of income distribution, Lazarus states that the "median net worth of upper-income families reached $639,400 last year." He then goes on to state that this is "almost 70 times what people at the lower end of the economic spectrum are making" and concludes, "That's not just a data point."

He is certainly right about that. It's a confusing and poorly edited mix

of almost unrelated subjects.

It would appear that Lazarus meant to say something about the disparity in median income of upper-income families compared to other groups, not to compare their net worth to what lower income groups "are making." There's no point (in this context) of comparing the net worth of a high-earning group to what poorer groups "make."

Steven D. Johnson, Redondo Beach

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