That’s the conventional wisdom and statists exploit it as much as possible for redistributionist policies. But it is wrong, argues Steven Conover in this article. Looking carefully at Census Bureau data, he concludes that in recent years, the gap between the rich and the middle class got smaller.

That might pour some cold water on the resentment fire Obama is trying to kindle. We should, however, try to change the discussion from how much different groups are supposed to deserve (“The rich are taking more than their fair share!”) and instead asking whether the nation’s laws and policies make it possible for some individuals to make unjustified gains in wealth while impeding others from advancing on their own merits. The directors of Fannie Mae, for example, raked in vast amounts throughout the decade before the housing bubble burst, while lots of lower-income people are prevented from engaging in useful businesses if it weren’t for various regulations, including licensing.

Abstractions like income groups don’t deserve anything; only individuals do.