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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.