Stories Below come from our Media Partner 3BL Media - Click their logo or any of the stories for more information
The Risk of Wealth and Income Gaps
The American Income and Wealth Gap
The issues and events represented in the broadening public discussions about “wealth and income disparities” or the “wealth divide” or the “1% and the 99%” are certainly top-of-mind for many people as we created this Hot Topic in October 2011. These are certainly not new issues, but for many Americans the Great Recession is intensifying some of the troubling aspects of income inequality and certainly the obvious wealth inequality in the USA today.
The essence of the American Dream has been about the assurance of equal access to quality education, the enjoyment of a good income (“living wages”), access to affordable healthcare, and the means to acquire a home of one’s own.
These have been the traditional pathways to building personal and family wealth at least since years of the Great Depression. In the “Era of Prosperity,” after World War II, the American middle class emerged in great numbers. Thanks to equal access to credit and capital, steadily increasing wage levels for workers, and reasonably-priced housing and durable goods, attaining higher levels of education, among other things, each generation could expect to be better off than the previous. Until now. What most Americans believed to be “financial fairness” for a rising middle class has been fading away since the financial sector crisis of 2008-2009, if not in reality, than in the perceptions of many people.
In contrast, the 1947 to 1975 years, as author Robert Reich points out in his book, “Aftershock,” was an era when the benefits of economic growth were more broadly shared. But since 1975, the economic gains have been steadily concentrated in the upper income and wealth regions of the US economy, and the middle-class and lower income earners have been missing out on the dividends paid by (among other things) the end of the Cold War and the onset of globalization that followed.
Unemployment is stuck at the 9% level; and, many Americans are under-employed, working two jobs, or out of work for so long that they have given up on finding a job. Which leads to more financial stress on millions of families.
As the former Secretary of Labor writes, “None of us can thrive in a nation divided between small number of people receiving an ever larger share of the nation’s income and wealth and everyone else receiving a declining share…” We agree.
Real opportunity and access – and not that portrayed today by certain pandering politicos – has been slipping away for millions of Americans. The Capitol Hill rhetoric does not square with the facts on the ground -- the statistics and facts and consumer surveys paint a different picture, first in the facts, and more recently, in the perceptions held by many Americans.
Not About Wealth Re-Distribution
This reality of diminishing economic returns is not about income or wealth re-distribution, or pursuing socialist or left-leaning political ideologies or policies, or schemes to tax the rich. This is about both the reality and perception of financial fairness and equity, and equal access to economic opportunity, which many middle-class and low-to-moderate income earners now believe is no longer the American Dream for them. This is a potentially dangerous social condition and one that our policymakers – or the fortunate affluent and wealthy -- should not ignore.
As this introduction is prepared, the Occupy Wall Street protests are in their third month, with hundreds of other cities and communities seeing demonstrations on their main streets. The protests so far have been peaceful and civil if not raucous at times.
The movement has spread to other countries. Earlier in 2011, citizen protests were staged in the Middle East – in the Arab Spring, young and old protested against repressive government policies and the lack of economic opportunity for the masses in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, and Syria. A major part of the complaints: lack of jobs, and lack of or unequal opportunity in terms of income and wealth-building, as well as the desire for more democratic rule.
There is now abundant news & commentary about the income and wealth divide in the United States, as well as a growing gap between rich and poor in many other countries. We are bringing you the highlights of this issue in this Hot Topic, because we believe that everyone should be tuned in to this critical social issue, which threatens the well-being of the nation, and individuals in all socio-economic categories. The solutions are not easy, or simple, or something government can prescribe. All Americans have to address the issues – and some of us will have to give a little to get back on track.
We cannot afford to lose the Millennial Generation (born 1975-2000) – the young people who seek the opportunities that their parents and grandparents enjoyed.
The editors have been focused on the issues surrounding the income and wealth divide for some time – this Hot Topic is being added to Accountability Central as the issues continue to gain momentum. We will be offering commentary in a running series, “The Divide – Danger Ahead.”
We welcome your comments – send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction: November 2011
Latest on The Risk of Wealth and Income Gaps
April 17, 2013 Content about Distribution of wealth
The Chronicle Herald - OTTAWA - A new report says Canada's social fabric is being torn by rising income inequality and stagnant child poverty rates. The Conference Board of Canada report compares Canada with other developed...
April 16, 2013 Another Loss for Unions: Outrageous CEO PaySource: The Fiscal Times
Income inequality tops the list for the labor union leader and confidante of President Obama. Trumka said the deficit hawks in corporate America are trying to “scare” voters and “distract attention from America’s real economic...
April 12, 2013 Affordable housing gap is key to wealth creation, says studySource: IOL.co.az
The provision of affordable housing in the so-called gap market in South Africa not only resulted in improved welfare and social cohesion, but was also an important facilitator of opportunities and wealth creation, according to a...
April 11, 2013 Inequality imperils usSource: Standard Times
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Jordan Weissmann’s article, “Yes, U.S. Wealth Inequality Is Terrible by Global Standards,” in the The Atlantic Online last month is just one of many recent entries in a larger debate over inequality of wealth...
The existence of an extraordinary global network of sham company directors, most of them British, can be revealed. The UK government claims such abuses were stamped out long ago, but a worldwide joint investigation by the...
April 4, 2013 Study: Recession Widened Racial Gaps in Wealth, IncomeSource: U.S. News
On the whole, whites entered the recession better off than some minorities, and that disparity only grew. It's no surprise that there are big economic gaps between races in the United States, but a new study shows just how big...
March 26, 2013 Has Wealth Inequality in US Sparked Fed's Interest?Source: CNBC
The gap between the wealthy and the rest of America is a hot-button issue in Washington–especially in the White House and Congress. And especially during battles over taxes. But recently, the Federal Reserve has also taken a...
March 25, 2013 The wealth gap on your doorstepSource: Daily Mail (UK)
Britain's most economically divided neighbourhoods have been revealed in a wide-ranging survey of the country's wealth gap. A study by data company CACI found streets where wealthy families in £1m homes live 'cheek by jowl' with...
March 19, 2013 The Wealth Gap Is an Opportunity GapSource: Huff Post
A wealth gap in communities across the country continues to grow, while public policy officials grapple with how to close a troubling and persistent educational achievement gap. Meanwhile, a similar gap in civic engagement among...
March 12, 2013 America's Racial Wealth Gap Is FixableSource: Huff Post
America's yawning racial wealth gap gets mentioned only rarely in political and policy discussions -- perhaps the only thing rarer is for a political leader to suggest that this problem can actually be fixed. But a recent study...
The Risk of Wealth and Income Gaps
Sorry, there is no result for your search. Try another one.
|HOME | ABOUT THE SITE | REGISTRATION INFORMATION | VOICES: FEATURED COMMENTATORS AND BLOGGERS | SPECIAL SECTIONS|