Despite well-known financial crimes that led to the Great Financial Disaster, there have been no criminal prosecutions of those who fraudulently marketed and sold the subprime mortgage-backed securities that wrecked our economy. Goldman Sachs epitomizes this fraudulent behavior.
Deep in the heart of Texas, still another billionaire is scheming to make public education a rewarding business investment opportunity.
A key keeper of the market fundamentalist flame wants us to know that all his rich and powerful red-state pals really do care about income maldistribution. The Heritage Foundation’s Stephen Moore is arguing that progressive policies in blue states are making us more unequal.
Wage squeezes, share buybacks, and tax subsidies, three new progressive think tank studies show, are all combining to keep America’s high and mighty ever higher and mightier. U.S. workers, as labor secretary Tom Perez notes, “are getting a smaller share of the pie that they helped to bake.”
Why do so many contemporary “fiscal conservatives” insist that safety net programs can only incubate a costly “dependency”? To really understand how many privileged today view poverty, we need to revisit the long history of punitive attitudes toward the poor.
In urban hotspots like New York, the slender luxury towers of the global super rich are assaulting the sky. Inequality is literally blocking out the sun.
Comparisons of income inequality among the world’s major high-income nations usually rank the United States as the most unequal. Why? One prime reason: The governments of other major developed nations do a great deal more to narrow the gap between their rich and everyone else.
A bold new egalitarian take on our modern economy from France has joined a powerful already published rendering of inequality’s toll — on our daily lives — from the UK. Blend the themes from these two works into our politics and watch our modern plutocracy start shaking.
In his surprise best-seller, Thomas Piketty warns that growing wealth inequality will have a corrosive impact on our democratic institutions.
The more that major state universities squeeze faculty and students, a new study shows, the grander the rewards their presidents reap. Low-wage, part-time faculty and deeply indebted students both appear more plentifully at universities with lavishly compensated top executives.
The latest annual hedge fund industry compensation stats have power suits smiling — and ordinary mortals worrying about public education’s future. Hedge fund manager billions are reshaping the education public policy debate. The problem: Not everyone shares their vision.
A new study provides compelling evidence that public policy decisions in the United States reflect the interests of the nation’s rich and powerful much more than the nation’s political majority. Other developments, notes analyst Sheila Suess Kennedy, back up the study’s conclusions.
Could the classic conservative put-down of progressive public policy become a strategic template for attacking over-the-top corporate executive compensation? Innovative lawmakers in the California and Rhode Island state legislatures may soon find out.
A year after the Rana Plaza tragedy, the building collapse that claimed over 1,100 lives, sociologist Robert Ross shows how the chase after cheaper manufacturing is causing ever rising inequality, low-wage misery, and unsafe workplaces the world over, the United States included.
CEOs at America’s restaurant giants must be providing some mighty fine service. Their ‘performance’ is costing Uncle Sam, an Institute for Policy Studies report details, nearly a quarter-billion a year. Fast food’s CEO-worker pay gap, adds Demos, has become the nation’s largest.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be able to show the link between inequality and catastrophic environmental change. But a little help from rocket scientists can certainly help. A new NASA-funded effort explores what the future may have in store for our unequal world.
Today’s super rich engorge themselves on federal dollars and evade billions in taxes while ordinary Americans work themselves to the bone. Professor of Law and Public Policy Sheila Suess Kennedy maintains it’s high time we rethink who are the ‘makers’ and the ‘takers.’
Pundits and political scientists are always searching for that simple theory that’ll explain just what makes our politics tick. Where should they be looking? How about in the eyes of a billionaire at tax time?
Pundits usually have income in mind when they talk about the top 1 percent. And analysts sometimes rank our richest by wealth. But Duke University sociologist Lisa Keister points out that if we really want to understand privilege, we need to start looking at both.
If you give a dollar to a middle class family, that family will spend that dollar in the local economy and spur growth.
Baseball’s top hitter and Wall Street power suits both ply their trades in a high-speed world. That hitter will make over a quarter-billion in the next decade. The top suits stand to ‘earn’ astonishingly more. The phenomenon of high-speed trading accounts for one reason why.
We always get what we measure. And if we measure inequality with a yardstick that only wonks can decipher, we’ll end up with a society too confused about inequality to do anything meaningful about it. Thanks to Chilean economist Gabriel Palma, we do have an alternative.
Heiress Bunny Mellon lived a long and rich life that spanned the divide between the top-heavy United States of the early 20th century and the equally top-heavy United States of our own times. The mystery: How did her family’s fortune outlast America’s years of high taxes on the rich?
How concentrated has America’s wealth become? In the not-so-distant future, if current trends continue, the Koch brother, Walton, and Mars family households will together hold over $1 trillion in wealth, over 1 percent the net worth of a nation with over 300 million people.
The California Constitution says the water belongs to the people. Yet the state gives water almost free to agriculture–resulting in enormous waste and dire “shortages” during droughts. If the state were to charge for water, that would end the water crisis–and solve California’s fiscal crisis too.
The chase after the super rich is leaving the world’s choicest cities nastier places to live for anyone without a grand fortune. Any city “in thrall to money and greed,” one UK newspaper editorial warns, is inviting “nightmarish consequences” that only begin with inflated housing costs.
Let’s learn from our not-so-distant past and share the gold. New technologies don’t have to bring us new inequalities. The prime example from our relatively recent past: the advent of television in the decade right after World War II. TV changed our lives, without creating billionaires.
A prominent conservative in Congress, House Ways and Means Committee chair David Camp, has released a wide-ranging tax reform package that actually will not leave the rich significantly richer. Should America’s 99 percent be grateful for small blessings — or suspicious? Or both?
Why should moving data around be any different from moving people? No private party, the battle over the pending Comcast-Time Warner merger reminds us, ought to be getting rich off a basic public trust. Decades ago, in a more equal America, no private party did.
Equal pay for equal work? We still haven’t arrived at that destination. Decent pay that reflects the dignity of all who labor? In today’s America, we’ve barely even begun that journey, as suggests a deeper look into the controversy over the compensation for GM’s first female CEO.
Back when I studied economics, we “proved” in class that a minimum wage causes unemployment. But that proof depends on assuming a perfectly competitive market. Big low-wage employers like Wal-Mart have substantial market power; they can deliberately under-staff operations to force down wages. In that case, a minimum wage increase can actually create jobs–if it can be enforced.
Those arrows aren’t hitting their lovelorn targets the way they once did. The reason? Sociologists and economists are pointing to our growing economic divide. In our stressful, deeply unequal times, love and marriage are fast becoming the equivalent of luxury goods.
The new Congressional Budget Office report projects that the Affordable Care Act will lead to a decline in full-time equivalent workers of 2.5 million. This is people voluntarily deciding to work less–like mothers with small children, or workers in poor health or close to retirement. That should mean higher wages for the remaining workers.
We already have the technology necessary to attain a decent, sustainable lifestyle — technology that can create more and better jobs.
In the fierce debate over our top-heavy distribution of income and wealth, egalitarians have vanquished both inequality’s deniers and defenders. Now the debate is shifting to the most pivotal question of all, thanks to a new book from the French economist Thomas Piketty.
Why the 2014 State of the Union action agenda won’t take us nearly as far as we need to go.
At the annual Swiss mountain retreat of our global elites, the world’s wealthy have spent a week wringing their hands over widening inequality. The irony? We owe much of this widening inequality to their relentless behaviors, as two just-released studies suggest quite clearly.
QE is supposed to stimulate the economy by encouraging investment with low interest money. That hasn’t happened, but why? Does no one want to borrow, or do banks not want to lend?
A new Toronto-based campaign is aiming to change the global conversation on CEOs, workers, and the real value of all their labor. The effort has already begun certifying those enterprises that pay their top executives no more than eight times their lowest-paid workers.
Present-day inequality reflects the poisonous result of eroding net worth among African-American and Latino households and an exploding concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent, and within that, among our richest 400 billionaires.