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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 116 of Robert Higgs’s Summer 1998 Independent Review essay, “Official Economic Statistics: The Emperor’s Clothes Are Dirty,” as this superb essay is reprinted in the 2004 collection of some of Bob’s essays, Against Leviathan:

Is this “growing inequality” not a fact? Who really knows? But whether in some purely arithmetic sense it is or not, it would never have been made the basis for public policy proposals to “correct” the situation if statisticians had not constructed “the distribution of income” in the first place. It is hard to imagine another statistical artifact better calculated to feed the fires of envy and political rapacity. Such information is unnecessary for the conduct of a just government but well-nigh indispensable for the operation of a predatory one.