Stephen Carter has a good column up at Bloomberg View:
Inequality is on everybody's lips these days -- everybody on the left, anyway, and a lot of people in the center and on the right as well. But what if everybody's wrong?
That's the contention of "On Inequality," a small, smart new volume by Princeton University philosopher Harry Frankfurt. At the very beginning, he states a simple but powerful thesis: "Our most fundamental challenge is not the fact that the incomes of Americans are widely unequal. It is, rather, the fact that too many of our people are poor." Progressives, in other words, are shooting at the wrong target. The moral problem posed by the distribution of wealth isn't inequality. It's poverty....
There is a tendency on the left to think of inequality principally as a problem of the rich having too much. Although not indifferent to that concern, Frankfurt contends that this worry is a distraction from the far more important goal of making sure that everyone has enough.
I think Frankfurt is right. He's pointing to a genuine difficulty in the way the left too often sees the world. When I've tried to raise the issue of poverty with progressive acquaintances, I've been told repeatedly that there are more important issues to address. Over and over I'm assured that we can get around to poverty once we've dealt with, say, climate change or marriage equality. These are worthy causes -- but it's discomfiting to see how far poverty has fallen on the liberal agenda.