We were delighted that the irony of being at a luxurious villa on the shores of Lake Como discussing income inequality wasn’t lost on the Booth PhD: "First of all it’s a bit funny to discuss about income inequality here at this luxurious villa in Como next to George Clooney’s villa"
As Jeb Bush might say, "Please laugh."
Moving on: when asked if central bank policy is making people feel that they’ve really lost out, Zingales reiterates what we’ve known all along, namely that the real consequences of central bank actions don’t matter, what matters is simply how people perceive the central bank and its actions. If people are told enough by smart people on television that the economy has been fixed, and the market is a reflection of the fundamentals, then they’ll blindly support anything the fed does. After all, as long as whatever voodoo is going on over at the Eccles building is pushing 401k balances higher, then it must be right.
He then goes on as far as stating that capitalism in the U.S. has failed and been converted into a perverted, mutant, crony version and that "the game is rigged."
"I think that people are willing to support capitalism if capitalism is providing growth, providing better income for everybody, and also if it has some at least appearance of being fair. Unfortunately, none of these conditions are in place today in the United States. I think that growth is limited, and disproportionately goes to a small fraction of the population. And there is a sense that the game is rigged."
We’ll jump in here to say, first, at least he’s telling the truth about the central planners’ strategy of perception. And also to point out that there isn’t a “sense” that the game is rigged, there is undeniable proof that the game is rigged.
As we have showed (repeatedly) the S&P 500 (that is to say, the "1%") has completely dislocated from the average American’s reality.
And here is another chart showing that all of the income gains over the past 30 years have gone to the 1% as compared to the bottom 90% of earners. QE only made this dislocation more acute.
He wraps up the interview by answering whether or not the monetary policies of central banks are adding to income inequality and actually making the rich richer.
"I think QE adds to income inequality though to be fair with Mario Draghi that’s the only thing he can do."
Well, that, and the soon to be unleashed Helicopter money of course. Meanwhile, for politicians who are supposedly so focused on fixing the unprecedented US and global wealth divide, may we suggest starting with those ruinous policies which - as we warned back in 2009 - even tenured professors now admit are not helping the everyday individual, but merely making the rich richer... as they were designed from the beginning.
Full interview below