Unleashing The Transformative Potential Of An Equitable Economy


By Chuck Collins for Inequality – While there is now widespread understanding that extreme income and wealth inequality is growing and has negative impacts on society, most proposed solutions fail to address deeper systemic drivers. If we misdiagnose an illness, we are likely to prescribe an insufficient or even dangerous remedy. If we misdiagnose the causes of inequality, we will likely put forward misguided solutions. For example, if we believe that inequality is primarily driven by changes in technology and globalization—what economists call a skills-biased technological change— then our solution will focus on investing in workforce education and skills expansion. While technological change and globalization have supercharged inequalities, they are not the primary drivers. My new report, Reversing Inequality: Unleashing the Transformative Potential of an Equitable Economy, co-published with the Institute for Policy Studies and the Next Systems Project goes beyond false solutions to understand the systemic drivers and the challenges of concentrated wealth and power.

In 40 Years: CEO Pay Up 937%, Worker Wages Stagnant

Image credit: Sergei Bachlakov / Shutterstock.com

By Alexandra Jacobo for Nation of Change. US inequality problem continues to be the worst in the industrialized world. A new report, published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) this week, shows that while wages for American workers have essentially remained stagnant for decades, CEO pay has soared at an “outrageous” clip. A study by the Pew Research Center (PRC) in 2014 found that economic analyses show a “lack of meaningful wage growth.” Looking at five decades worth of government wage data, PRC showed that wages have been flat or even falling since the 1970s, regardless of changes in the economy and job markets. Now EPI’s Lawrence Mishel and Jessica Schieder have found that between the years of 1978 and 2016, CEO pay rose 937 percent. Over that same period, worker compensation grew by a measly 11.2 percent. The CEOs of America’s largest firms made an average of $15.6 million, 271 times the annual average pay of a typical American worker.

Economic Insecurity Of US Workers Increases With Unstable Jobs

More Americans work without full-time employers yet policies fail to address this new reality. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By Elizabeth Grossman for In These Times – The U.S stock market may be at record highs and U.S. unemployment at its lowest level since the Great Recession, but income inequality remains stubbornly high. Contributing to this inequality is the fact that while more Americans are working than at any time since August 2007, more people are working part time, erratic and unpredictable schedules—without full-time, steady employment. Since 2007, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time has increased by nearly 45 percent. More Americans than before are part of what’s considered the contingent workforce, working on-call or on-demand, and as independent contractors or self-employed freelancers, often with earnings that vary dramatically month to month.

Newsletter: The Movement Matters Most


By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. While some people are calling 2016 the worst year ever, we are optimistic that we are on track for transformational change. Of course there are significant challenges ahead, but there are also important opportunities. We knew all along that no matter who won the elections this year, they would be plutocrats, and we, the people, would have to organize and resist. If we look at the big picture, 2016 was a time of progress in political education, movement building and reaching national consensus. These are all elements that are necessary in successful social movements. If we continue to make progress in the years ahead, then our work collectively will have a greater long-term impact than the incoming administration and Congress.

A Women’s Economic Agenda For The Next President

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By Elise Gould for EPI – Progress on closing the gap between men’s and women’s wages in the U.S. economy has been glacially slow in recent decades—and gender wage parity has become a top priority for those committed to ensuring the economic security of American women. This priority is absolutely essential. No matter how you cut it, the gender wage gap is real and it matters (link to paper). That said, pay parity cannot be the only goal for those looking to improve the economic lot of American women.

The One Tax Idea That Would Be Fair To All Americans

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Donald Trump would pay $200 million a year if the U.S. had a 2% wealth tax — he claims he is worth about $10 billion.

By Brett Arends for Market Watch – Americans, when are we going to get our heads back where the sun shines and implement a wealth tax? How many tax outrages by the super rich do we have to witness before we actually pass the only reasonable measure that would end them? How much longer are we going to moan about Congress and special interests and banks in Panama and various other scapegoats before we actually start taking more responsibility as a nation for our own affairs?

A Do-Over For Our Unequal Economy?

'Conventional monetary policy has failed,' writes Brown. An economy in service of the people, not industry and the banks, is what's needed now. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

By Sam Pizzigati for Inequality – The basic idea behind the “mulligan” ­– you flub a shot, you get to take the shot again — may be golf’s most endearing contribution to world civilization. In our real-world economy, unfortunately, we don’t get to take mulligans. We certainly could use one. Here in the United States, a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office makes depressingly clear, we’ve essentially flubbed the last three decades.

Economic Inequality: Cause And Consequence Of Our Racial Problems

Protesters in Los Angeles on July 9 mark the shooting deaths of two black men by police in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, La. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

By Michael Hiltzik for LA Times – The eruption of community protests that followed the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile last week placed the spotlight once again on racial disparities in American society. But one aspect that again received less attention than it deserved is economic disparity. That’s important because it’s pervasive in the U.S. and arguably lies at the core of our racial conflicts. Progressive economist Jared Bernstein put his finger on the issue, observing that “the systemic racial injustice embedded in the economy” is among the “institutional prejudices” America needs to consider deeply.

71% Of Americans Anxious About Rigged Economy Agaisnt Them

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By Andrea Seabrook of Market Place – Welcome to the post-Brexit world – a global economic outlook more uncertain than ever. Before we all go raising alarms though, remember: many of the economic fundamentals in the American economy are strong. Still, there have been signs of economic uncertainty. The Fed’s being cautious on interest rates. The May unemployment report showed poor job growth. And on the campaign trail, the talk is about economic fairness and jobs lost to trade deals.

Wealth Belongs To All Of Us – Not Just To The Rich


By Dariel Garner for Popular Resistance. Imagine eating at a sumptuous private banquet every night that the whole society has paid for, while most people are too stressed from overwork and worry to do more than grab some fast food on the way home and others can only hope to find some moldy food in a dumpster. There is no fairness in that. No equality. No justice. Indeed, it is shameful. Recognizing that the wealth was created by the society, not by me, meant that I held riches that were not mine but belonged to the people and to the Earth. My first reaction was guilt, but all that did was make the thousand dollar bottles of wine go down faster. My second reaction was sorrow and eventually that made me change my life. I couldn’t go on as I had. I turned my back on wealth. I lost it, I spent it like water and finally I gave it all away. I have never been happier.

How Supreme Court Made Economic Inequality Worse

Lady Justice may not be blind after all. Lady Justice via www.shutterstock.com

By Michele Gilman for The Conversation – Economic inequality is now firmly on the public agenda as candidates and voters alike look for someone to blame for stagnant wages, entrenched poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor. Bernie Sanders blames Wall Street. Donald Trump points his finger at companies moving overseas. Hillary Clinton identifies middle-class families who are working harder but staying in place as the root cause. While all these factors and others helped increase inequality, they overlook the role of a key American institution that has also helped widen the gap between rich and poor: the Supreme Court.

Newsletter: Why Protests Will Continue To Grow


By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. This week the reason that there are a growing protest movement and growing disenchantment with government was put on display. The divergence between government and reality was thrust in our faces. The entire government came together, Members of Congress, the Cabinet, military leaders, the Supreme Court, Vice President and President (minus the ‘selected survivor’ in case the Capitol was attacked, the head of Homeland Security) to hear the State of the Union. The choreographed self-praise of people who will spend $5 billion this year of mostly big business money to get re-elected was evident from the moment the door was opened. Hugs and kisses, backslapping all around, required applause as the President approached the podium, more staged applause when he was introduced and then, as if they were trained, dozens of standing ovations on cue – 89 times in a 58-minute speech the President was applauded.

End Of Middle Class: 51% Of US Workers Earn Under $30,000 Annually

Save the Middle Class

By By Michael Snyder for End of the American Dream – According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year. Let that number sink in for a moment. You can’t support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month – especially after taxes are taken out. And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month. In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today. The federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, and yet almost 40 percent of all American workers do not even bring in $20,000 a year. Yet, 38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year and 51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

Message Of Occupy Still Occupies The Public Dialogue

Occupy Wall Street holding banner

Staff for Popular Resistance – Anya Parampil of RT America covers the Occupy encampments history and legacy on the 4th anniversary of the movement. She describes how occupy grew from a small part in New York to a national and international movement. She describes how the Occupy raised long festering issues of the unfair economy and put them on the national agenda – and how the media reported on the spectacle of the encampments but missed the message of the movement. The impact of the movement was to have income inequality mentioned in political discussions more than ever before and the national dialogue being restricted around the corruption of Wall Street and the unfair economy. The Occupy opened the door to discussion of these issues in politics and it is hard to imagine the Bernie Sanders Campaign without Occupy having occurred. While the encampments are long gone the message of the movement occupies the United States today.

‘Stop Killing Us': March Against Police Brutality


By Max Pizarro in Politicker NJ. Newark, NJ – They poured forth, one after another—Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Abdul Kamal, Kashad Ashford, Rekia Boyd, Jerame Reid—blacks killed by men wearing uniforms, names hammered into an anti-police brutality battle cry of remembrance on the streets of downtown Newark. “We’re here united in opposition to racism, poverty, bigotry, inequality, and all forms of oppression,” yelled People’s Organization for Progress Chairman Larry Hamm, citing a pandemic of police brutality across America. “Stop killing us! Stop killing us! Stop killing us! “There is a burgeoning police state in the United States,” said Hamm.