Don Roberts, in his Jan. 23 column, “Income inequality? Don’t bring class warfare to Maine,” stated that “income inequality is essentially non-existent in Maine.” He uses the “Gini coefficient” to support this assertion, stating that Maine has the lowest Gini coefficient in the nation.

He then offers his reasons why there is income inequality: change from manufacturing to data-based economy, educational gap between rich and poor, generational poverty, economic dependency of people at the bottom of the economic ladder. While I agree with some of these reasons, Roberts’ assertions about income inequality are not factually accurate:

• The Gini coefficient ranges from 0 to 1: the higher the number, the greater the income disparity. Maine ranked 12th lowest in 2010 and 20th lowest in 2012 (Wikipedia). In other words, income disparity increased in Maine during those two years. Gini coefficient measurement does not count total household wealth nor income from investments, which give a much more accurate picture of economic disparity. Lastly, the Gini coefficient has a narrow range. Wyoming, the lowest, is at 0.4081; New York: the highest, is at 0.5033. Maine is at 0.4509.

• A recent Pew Research poll found that 65 percent of Americans believed that the gap between rich and poor has increased.

• In the last 35 years, the ratio of the average CEO to worker pay has increased from 40:1 to more than 354:1 (Huffington Post).

• Economic mobility in USA lags behind Canada and Western Europe (NY Times).

Does Roberts still believe that there is no gap between the rich and poor? When a CEO makes 350 times more than an average worker, is this good for the economy? Who will buy all of our products if we don’t have a strong, economically stable middle class?

Roberts is entitled to his opinions, but not his own facts.

Walter NoveyHallowell

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