Your editorial (Politics of envy threatens our economy and ethos, 2 May) claims that “Research by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling has shown that all income levels prospered in the Howard years and that under the Rudd-Gillard governments the gap between rich and poor has widened.” This is close to the exact opposite of the facts. While it is true that all income groups benefited from real income increases in the Howard years, the gains for high income groups were much greater than for low income groups, and the gap between rich and poor widened. In contrast, ABS statistics show that income inequality fell slightly under the Rudd-Gillard government, partly due to the impact of the GFC, but also because the very large increase in pensions in 2009 helped some of the poorest by the most. I have not been able to find any NATSEM document that actually says what the editorial claims.
Peter Whiteford, University of New South Wales