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Government policies of quantitative easing (a.k.a. money printing), crony capitalism, over-regulation, over-taxation and incentivizing dependency continue to widen the gap between American’s rich and poor … which we’re guessing is NOT what Barack Obama meant when he told Joe the Plumber back in 2008 that he was going to “spread the wealth around.”

Or maybe it’s exactly what he meant …

Anyway, the broadening chasm between the haves and have-nots is increasingly visible everywhere … even when it comes to the world’s “oldest profession.”

According to Andrew Zatlin of South Bay Research – who publishes a monthly “Vice Index” that tracks economic activity on gambling, booze and prostitution – the “rich are getting richer” in every way imaginable.

“High-end escorts successfully raised prices,” Zatlin wrote in his most recent report. “Lower-end escorts did not.”

Paying attention, Eliot Spitzer?

Zatlin’s report also reveals that beer sales are falling off more dramatically than wine sales – and low-end gambling has fallen off even as high rollers continue to play.

Why does the wealth gap matter?  Easy: America’s economy is driven by consumer spending, and consumer spending is driven by everyday Americans.  What should be done to fix the problem?  Actually that’s a trick question.  There will always be a wealth gap because human beings – while equally endowed by their creator with certain “inalienable rights” – were not endowed with identical abilities.

Still, if government would stop printing money, stop picking winners and losers in the marketplace, start slashing its red tape and start dramatically lowering (and equalizing) Americans’ tax burdens – then we would have a level playing field for capital that equalizes opportunity as opposed to a centrally manipulated marketplace that holds all of us back.

In other words there is nothing government can do to get rid of the wealth gap … but there is plenty it can do is doing to exacerbate that gap.

Oh, and when it comes to prostitution and gambling … a truly free market would not seek to constrain either of these enterprises. Which is why this website has repeatedly argued on behalf of their decriminalization.