Regarding the second question, my answer is that this information is important if what you really care about is what your neighbor has. However, I would suggest that there is a reason that the Tenth Commandment is "Thou Shalt Not Covet."
Fear and envy create wealth for politicians who use these levers, as Democrats want to do now, to activate and grow government as a pretense for solving problems that people can only solve for themselves.
A recently released study by the Goldwater Institute in Arizona examines, state by state, changes in the rates of poverty from 1990 to 2000.
The study shows that in the last decade, the 10 states with the lowest per capita government spending had an 11.2 percent decline in poverty rates and the 10 states with the highest per capita spending had a 7.3 percent increase in poverty rates.
The 10 states with the lowest levels of taxation had a 13.7 percent decline in poverty rates and the 10 states with the highest level of taxation had a 3.04 percent increase.
Individuals who work create jobs. It's an issue of freedom and values not social engineering.
What can politicians do? Help get government out of the way.
If the newly crowned Democrats want to do better than Republicans, they should start with education. Barney Frank thinks that the nation's No. 1 problem is worrying what every one else is earning. The nation's No. 1 problem is the public school monopoly and what it is doing to inner city kids.
The New York Times reports that new studies show that, despite the ambitious goals of No Child Left Behind, reading and math performance gaps between white and black and Hispanic children are virtually unchanged. According to the Times, these new tests show "African-American and Hispanic students in high school can read and do arithmetic at only the average level of whites in junior high school.
Bust the public school monopoly. Get freedom in education. This is what Democrats can do to help.