What I found was that economic inequality doesn’t frustrate Americans at all. It is, rather, the perceived lack of economic opportunity that makes us unhappy. To focus our policies on inequality, instead of opportunity, is to make a grave error—one that will worsen the very problem we seek to solve and make us generally unhappier to boot.
Policymakers and economists rarely denounce the scandal of inequality in work effort, creativity, talent, or enthusiasm. We almost never hear about the outrage that is America’s inequality in leisure time, love, faith, or fun—even though these are things that most of us value more than money. To believe that we can redress inequality in our society by moving cash around is to have a materialistic, mechanistic, and totally unrealistic understanding of the resources that we truly care about.
from What Really Buys Happiness? by Arthur Brooks