Concern about increasing income inequality in the U.S. is well-founded, but Democrats have it wrong when it comes to solutions, said Greg Mankiw, former economic advisor to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.
The Harvard University professor told CNBC's "Squawk Box" the wealth gap has been widening for four decades.
"But there's different ways of making people more equal. And making us all equally miserable is not the right way to do it," he said. "We've got to find ways to help people at the bottom without shrinking the size of the economic pie."
Rather than opposing free trade or increasing taxes, he said, "our focus should be on education—everything from pre-kindergarten to higher ed to turn those unskilled workers into skilled workers."
"High taxes will bring the top down. But we really need educational reform to bring the people at the bottom up and give them more opportunities," he said.