Here's a brilliant article by Steven E. Landsburg about how the poor have gained far more leisure time than the rich over the past several decades.
As you've probably heard, there's been an explosion of inequality in the United States over the past four decades. The gap between high-skilled and low-skilled workers is bigger than ever before, and it continues to grow.
How can we close the gap? Well, I suppose we could round up a bunch of assembly-line workers and force them to mow the lawns of corporate vice presidents. Because the gap I'm talking about is the gap in leisure time, and it's the least educated who are pulling ahead. ...
About 10 percent of us are stuck in 1965, leisurewise. At the opposite extreme, 10 percent of us have gained a staggering 14 hours a week or more. (Once again, your gains are measured in comparison to a person who, in 1965, had the same characteristics that you have today.) By and large, the biggest leisure gains have gone precisely to those with the most stagnant incomesâ€”that is, the least skilled and the least educated. And conversely, the smallest leisure gains have been concentrated among the most educated, the same group that's had the biggest gains in income.
Read the whole thing, but his second conclusion is is especially spot-on:
Second, a certain class of pundits and politicians are quick to see any increase in income inequality as a problem that needs fixingâ€”usually through some form of redistributive taxation. Applying the same philosophy to leisure, you could conclude that something must be done to reverse the trends of the past 40 yearsâ€”say, by rounding up all those folks with extra time on their hands and putting them to (unpaid) work in the kitchens of their "less fortunate" neighbors. If you think it's OK to redistribute income but repellent to redistribute leisure, you might want to ask yourself whatâ€”if anythingâ€”is the fundamental difference.
(HT: Sound Mind Investing.)