Explaining rising income inequality in the US
Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees
« Previous Entry | Main | Next Entry » Rising Inequality: Don't Blame the Robots Robots work on 2008 Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUV frames on the assembly line at Ford Motor Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich.
The broad facts of income inequality over the past six decades are easily summarized: The years from the end of World War II into the 1970s were ones of substantial economic growth and broadly shared prosperity. Incomes grew rapidly and at roughly the same rate up and down the income ladder, roughly doubling in inflation-adjusted terms between the late 1940s and early 1970s.
On Monday, Aaron Edlin and I published a cri de coeur op-ed in the New York Times calling for a Brandeis tax, an automatic tax that would put the brakes on income inequality.
WHILE FEW QUESTION the fact that income inequality has risen in the United States over the past three decades, there is plenty of dispute about why.
People are inclined to give much more legitimacy to market outcomes than policy outcomes engineered by governments.
There are “two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by a different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws…THE RICH AND THE POOR.” The British novelist (and later prime minister) Benjamin Disraeli wrote those words about England in 1845.
The release last month of the Economic Report of the President has elicited a great deal of commentary, but none that I have seen touches on what I consider the best measure of long-term income trends, real weekly wages of production and non-supervisory workers, which is contained in Appendix Table B-47, "Hours and earnings in private non-agricultural industries, 1965-2011." According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics staffer I spoke to some years ago (so the percentages may have changed slightly), this covers 62% of the entire workforce and 80% of the non-government workforce.
(Source: Census.gov) >
Both official data and numerous news stories confirm how badly average citizens have fared in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Copyright © 2011 NPR.
Does the prosperity of the capital region color the perspectives of the journalists and lawmakers who live there? Rob Shenk/Flickr
You guys'll love this, let's have a political food fight about it...