The foreclosure epidemic illustrates a problem far larger and more pervasive than current banking practices: America’s growing power imbalance. In our deeply unbalanced economic world, we need to rethink policies that operate to penalize the powerless and reward the predatory.
Each week, millions of dollars are stolen from American families. The perpetrators act with impunity. There are no arrests, few convictions, and meaningless fines. What is this crime wave sweeping the nation? Wage theft. Some communities are now banding together to put an end to it.
If we want to solve the most pressing issues of our time, we need to change our national political discourse from one that focuses solely on competition, the market, and the individual, to one that focuses on the value of community, civil society, and the public good.
Wealth’s current tilt to the top sometimes seems almost eternal. But can our mature market economies ‘self-correct’? A provocative new paper out of the OECD, the developed world’s official economic research agency, contemplates our tomorrow if we let current trends play out.
A nationally prominent conservative academic is charging that critics of America’s top-heavy distribution of income and wealth are missing the bigger global picture. In the process, other economists are pointing out, he’s only fogging that picture up.
Many individuals helped construct neoclassical economics, often with financial support from the robber barons and their successors. I will focus on two: in the United States, John Bates Clark (1847-1938), and in Europe, Vilfredo Pareto (1848 to 1923).
Energy policies exacerbate inequality by placing the costs of climate change on the most vulnerable Americans. The general public bears the costs in both higher prices and higher taxes at the same time that fossil fuel companies continue to enjoy massive subsidies.
In Thomas Piketty’s doomsday model, slowing of growth in the twenty-first century will cause an inexorable increase in inequality. Piketty is not the first to propose a grand model of inequality and growth. To get some perspective on his model, let’s see what the “classical” economists had to say (Part I), and how the “neoclassical” economists responded (Part II).
Over 20 years ago, Fortune 500 CEO Harold MacInnes pledged not to take in pay any more than 14 times what his workers were making. A new UK CEO pay report has now placed back on the table the notion of capping executive compensation at a multiple of worker pay.
The outsourcing of public services to private go-getters has been concentrating wealth the whole world over. The best answer to that concentration? That just may be new forms of public ownership, suggests a new global survey of alternatives to privatizing.
More than enough, the latest statistical evidence suggests, to warrant a full-fledged federal search. A new banking law in effect this month, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, has the potential to start that search in the right direction. But obstacles remain.
Workers in the United States don’t make double what workers make in Japan or Switzerland. Why should U.S. CEOs routinely make double — and often much more — than Japanese and Swiss top execs? New global stats show how wide the corporate pay gap still stretches.
Among developed nations, America ranks number one in child poverty. The cause? Many powerful elected leaders point to unmarried mothers. But the research doesn’t back them up. Look instead, that research suggests, to an unequal economy loaded with low-wage jobs.
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.