The sentence in Ben Shapiro's book preceding the title quote is this: "Discussions of income inequality, after all, aren't about prosperity but about petty spite." I'm sorry Mr. Shapiro, but this is entirely about prosperity. And not at all petty.
These issues are yet again the problem of our age. Their seeming trajectory towards resolution post WWII, with widespread prosperity and a rising middle class, has been undone. What undid them points to the underlying problem: Immediate causes include the spectacular increase in financialization and unearned rents, the lack of and lack of enforcement of progressive taxes, both in turn largely due to a shift in the public's understanding of these issues. What caused this shift in public understanding is the age old problem—power and the lack thereof.
This sixteen-part series, The Souls of the People, will explore these issues and the ideas and economics behind them. The values, origins, economics and philosophy behind the call to "cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub" (Norquist). The creation of think tanks specifically to provide a pseudo-intellectual foundation for inequality, and that along with media convince the middle class to vote against their own interests. The rise, reasons for, and effect of beliefs that markets without law allow for full employment and that wage laws cause unemployment. That competition alone can bring about good working conditions. The rejection of progressive taxes, and of the right to avail ourselves of the power and resources of the country through organizing public goods. And most importantly, how all of these are maintained by laws that impoverish the powerless and enrich the powerful, and thus are self-perpetuating.