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Are Republicans Nostalgic for the Gilded Age?

At least since Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party has feigned nostalgia for 1950s America.

Republicans may feign a nostalgia for the 1950s, but they are actually more nostalgic for the Gilded Age. For decades, they have worked hard to undo the Progressive Era reforms that curbed inequality. In the process, they have created a second Gilded Age.

Some ‘Old’ News for a Newly Elected Congress

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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has just released its latest appraisal of America’s income breakdown. Whatever yardstick you use, the CBO shows, the rich are winning. But that hasn’t stopped conservatives from arguing that the nation’s affluent remain oppressed victims.

If It Looks Like Employment, It Probably Is

Misclassifying workers saves employers about 30 percent of their labor costs.

When you hire someone, you have to pay social security taxes, unemployment, workers’ compensation, and ensure worker health and safety. It’s a lot to put up with. What if you could get people to do the same work without taking on these responsibilities? As it turns out, you can.

A Forgotten Lesson: It’s the Economy, Stupid

Strategist James Carville famously coined this phrase, which became a cornerstone of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign.

In 1992, James Carville famously coined the phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid!” More than 20 years later, inequality has worsened to an unprecedented degree, but progressives fighting to end inequality have forgotten Carville’s lesson and, in the process, the most potent argument of all.

Wall Street Profits from Poor Neighborhoods

Opportunities to profit from poverty blossom in poor neighborhoods.

An anthropologist follows the everyday struggles of impoverished youth in DC and reveals how businesses target these youth for profit. From used cars to cellphone leases to pawn shops, wealthy investors have made poor neighborhoods into a highly lucrative enterprise.

The Peasants Still Have Their Pitchforks

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Americans want what 21st century politics has so far not delivered: real options for challenging concentrated wealth. That’s one conclusion we can draw from new research polling out of Berkeley that gave Americans a choice of seven policy options on federal taxes.

Why the Rich Hate Popular Democracy

If ordinary people controlled elections, the rich would be taxed and the poor would be lifted up.

The wealthy elite has always been uncomfortable with democracies because of the populist policies that result from them. If we want change, we need to confront those who engage in “makers and takers” rhetoric and remind them that genuine democracy is good for everyone.

A Bold New Drive to Recast the War on Want

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We’ll only make significant progress against the absence of wealth at the bottom of our economic order, declares an ambitious new global campaign just launched by Oxfam International, if we confront the enormous concentration of wealth at our economic summit.

The Predicament of ‘One Percent’ Parents

As top incomes increase, ‘one percent’ parents will try to purchase as much influence over the social mobility process as they can.

The greater the income gap, the more important it becomes for rich parents to give their children every possible advantage. Increasing inequality thus accentuates elites’ reluctance to pay taxes that could equalize opportunity. Their own children just may have the most to lose.

Why Research Funding Matters for the Country

Dwindling government resources for research signals a nation in decline.

Researchers across academic disciplines have raised concerns over the dwindling government support available for basic and applied research. This lack of concern for investing in our future, like our disinclination to maintain our basic infrastructure, signals a nation in decline.

“The form of law which I propose would be as follows: In a state which is desirous of being saved from the greatest of all plagues—not faction, but rather distraction—there should exist among the citizens neither extreme poverty nor, again, excessive wealth, for both are productive of great evil . . . Now the legislator should determine what is to be the limit of poverty or of wealth.”

Greek philosopher (427-347 B.C.)

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