Opportunity is the opposite of equality.
Income equality has always been a class warfare sham. Set aside the economics and the easy way to tell is that the people calling for it earn far more than the average person ever will. They're not proposing to equalize anything. Their endgame is to rig the system for their own benefit.
In the Republican response to Obama's income equality pitch, Senator Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, “The president talks a lot about income inequality. But the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality.”
That certainly cuts much closer to the truth than the income inequality slogans. The problem isn't how much money the rich make, but how much money the poor don't make. Trying to forcibly shift that won't work. It will just destroy more jobs, increase poverty and force more social spending.
And that's part of the endgame for Obama and his cronies. Welfare voters are more reliable voters. Keep people poor and they have few options.
Income inequality directly clashes with opportunity. The more government controls the economy, the less opportunities exist for moving up the economic ladder through your own efforts, instead of government subsidies or a quota system that have their limits and come with glass ceilings.
Opportunity is the opposite of equality. If everyone really were forced to be equal in their achievements, then there would be no opportunity.
The more fundamental question though is not what the national or global snapshot of wealth distribution should be, but what the individual living standard should be. This isn't measured in cash amounts, it's measured in buying power. Talking about a chicken in every pot and two cars in every garage directly addresses living standards.
Without living standards, wealth has no meaning. An increase in the minimum wage that only leaves you able to buy the same amount you did before because the rest of the economy doesn't stand still when you adjust one piece of it, is worthless. It makes for good headlines for politicians, but accomplishes nothing.
Wealthy advocates for the poor call for minimum wage hikes for fast food workers and claim that the fast food places will be able to afford it because the workers will be able to buy more fast food. Even if this fantasy of economic equilibrium were viable, it would really mean the workers buying the same amount because the price of each item would go up. The workers would have more money, the fast food places would take in more money, but neither would be wealthier, only the numbers would have shifted.
Nationally we've been playing these shell games and the country is poorer for it. Opportunity moves a country forward. Artificial equality recessions do not.