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.
A half-century since Dr. King’s dream, we’re living through a nightmare where America’s 400 richest now hold as much wealth as America’s 14 million African-American households. Dr. King worried deeply about wealth distribution in his day. He would be even more worried today.
Those Americans struggling against poverty in the 1960s faced plenty of obstacles. Americans today may face even more. A half-century ago, after all, America’s wealthiest had nowhere near the chokehold on the nation’s political system that they hold today.
In the year ahead, the struggle against America’s chronic — and growing — income inequality just might jump-start. And one spark may come from Maryland’s St. Mary’s College campus, where activists are working to limit the top campus paycheck to 10 times the lowest.
Nurses, philosophers, and trade unions have over the past 12 months all shared some fascinating ideas on how we can make our societies more equal — and much better — places to live. We highlight here ten of the year’s most promising and provocative inequality-busting notions.
Butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers. You won’t find any of them in this latest annual list of America’s most avaricious from Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies weekly on excess and inequality. You will find wheelers and dealers and even a candy store heiress.
What makes a society a fun place to be? Nice weather and exciting night-life options certainly help. But so, suggests a leading World Bank economist, does avoiding a starkly skewed distribution of income. In his new global index of “funness,” he lists inequality as a key limiting factor.
In plain yet powerful language, Pope Francis is challenging the givens of our deeply unequal world — and helping inspire resistance to it. His new “apostolic exhortation” offers a wide-ranging critique of our unequal status quo that draws from multiple sources.
Making the market “decisive” means that the Chinese government has decided to place profits before people — and even before that previously invincible talisman, economic growth.
A new kind of social disease has spread from recession in the United States to austerity in Europe to manufactured crisis in Australia. Tenured and emeritus academics should be hoisting the banner of civilization, raising the battle-cry for justice.
In the United States today, thanks to glaring tax loopholes, even modestly competent tax attorneys can help their wealthy clients sidestep the federal estate tax almost entirely. If we don’t plug these loopholes soon, some observers feel, we may as well not even bother.
America’s corporate CEOs feel entitled to pensions that pay out $86,000 monthly. To protect their entitlement, they’re attacking ours: Social Security. But a new report neatly exposes the monumental hypocrisy of their legislative assault on America’s only remaining retirement bedrock.
If Europe successfully implements a financial transactions tax (FTT), it will demonstrate that it is possible to make banks pay for the privilege of trading financial instruments like stocks, bonds, and derivatives.
Young activists in Switzerland have plutocrats hyperventilating — and spending a fortune to beat back a November 24 national ballot initiative that would establish a landmark legal limit on the pay gap between top corporate executives and their lowest-paid workers.
Americans are gaining, ever so slowly, a more accurate picture of just how wide the gap has stretched between the nation’s most fabulously privileged and everyone else. New data from Social Security statisticians are helping fill in the holes. But a full picture remains elusive.
This year’s fast GDP growth underlines one of the great myths of economic statistics: the myth that growth benefits everyone, or at least most people.
People who cut food stamp benefits — and gut child labor laws — most all had empathy when they came into the world. So what squeezed the empathy out? At the Economic Policy Institute and elsewhere, analysts and researchers are pointing to inequality.
Fox News may have failed to have an impact on the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election in the United States, but media organizations controlled by Rupert Murdoch celebrated a victory this year in Australia.
America’s top execs don’t have the time to celebrate. They’re too busy waging a corporate holy war against what may be the most promising check yet on executive pay excess, a Dodd-Frank Act provision that mandates the disclosure of the pay gap between CEOs and workers.
A tiny tax on global personal wealth over $1 million could ensure that no child anywhere has to live in extreme poverty. That’s the takeaway suggested by the data in new reports on wealth and income distribution from the Credit Suisse Research Institute and the World Bank.
If the Supreme Court chooses to erase our remaining post-Watergate campaign finance reforms, Richard Nixon’s scandalous reign may come to seem mere kid’s play. The reason? Today’s wealthy have far more wealth available to plow into politics than the rich of Nixon’s time.
Executives at private companies flush with federal contracts are getting rich off America’s tax dollars — at the expense of their low-wage workers. But these tables can turn. An insightful report just released by the New York think tank Demos explains just how.
Exactly a century ago, decades of progressive struggle finally paid off and outfitted America with a tool for braking the unlimited accumulation of grand private fortune. On this 100th anniversary, a noted historian looks back on the birth of the modern federal income tax.
The new sci-fi film Elysium offers a dire warning about our society’s extreme inequalities of income and wealth. The newly released documentary Inequality for All may be our best hope yet to broaden a national conversation about the dangers of inequality.
The long-delayed disclosure rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission on CEO-worker pay turned out last week to be surprisingly strong. The new rule, once finally adopted, will require corporations to annually reveal the ratio between what they pay their top execs and median workers.
In general, sales taxes are indeed regressive; moreover, as I recently argued, sales taxes are partly “passed back” onto suppliers, hitting small businesses hardest. But wait… Imagine that we impose a sales tax on diamonds. Would we worry about the burden on middle class purchasers of one-fourth-caret engagement rings? What about the part of the […]
Call their bluff. Take the plunge. Go over the cliff. Let the government default on its bonds.
The exceedingly comfortable who sit in America’s richest 1 percent have nearly fully regained the outsized share of the nation’s income they held just before the economy cratered five years ago. So report economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty, based on an analysis of IRS data.
People need jobs. Put them to work. It’s that simple.
America’s corporate chiefs deserve all their hefty rewards, we’re told, because they take hefty risks. And what exactly are these richly rewarded corporate chief executives putting at risk? A new Economic Policy Institute study has the answer: our retirement security.