Michael Barone has an interesting piece today highlighting a recent article by George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen in The American Interest that explains how rising U.S. living standards across the board have “spread the wealth” far more efficiently than any statist program the Obama Administration can dream up.

Cowen demonstrates how the greatly improved access that ordinary Americans have gained in the past 50 years to better clothing, food, consumer electronics, and medical care has reduced “the inequality of personal well-being.” He makes his case by reviewing the dropping prices and increasing availability of thousands of good and services.

Left under-emphasized in the articles is the fact that these better prices and greater quantities would have been unimaginable without the tremendous gains in free and more open economies globally that accompanied the rising living standards. That is why free trade is one of the 10 indicators in the annual Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom.

Another recent Heritage study further undermines the statists’ case for more government intervention and spending by showing how, contrary to claims from the left of stagnating U.S. wages, real median household income actually increased from 1970 to 2008 by nearly 30 percent (notwithstanding the crushing growth in federal spending of 242 percent during that time period).