I would like to divide my comments into two parts. First, I will offer a few general reactions to the conference papers. I will then discuss the policy implications suggested by the papers and my summary. REACTION TO THE PAPERS First, I am left with the strong impression that there was no disagreement with the fact that economic inequality has increased in the United States over the past twenty years. In fact, income, earnings, total compensation, and wealth inequality have all risen significantly over this period. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures, income inequality has continued to increase at least through 1997, while poverty rates (properly measured using income concepts that include tax-related benefits and near-cash benefits) have finally begun to decrease. In combination
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