Category Archives: Income Inequality/Gap

GAO Study Again Confirms Health Savings Accounts Primarily Benefit High-Income Individuals

Source: Edwin Park, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, May 19, 2008

From the summary:
A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicates that Health Savings Accounts are used disproportionately by affluent households. Its findings also suggest that HSAs are being used extensively as tax shelters.

Working Families and Economic Insecurity in the States: The Role of Job Quality and Work Supports

Source: Shawn Fremstad, Rebecca Ray and Hye Jin Rho, Center for Economic and Policy Research, May 2008

From the press release:
The federal poverty line does a poor job of measuring economic insecurity in the United States according to a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). In the typical state, 22 percent of people in working families suffer from economic hardship because their earnings and income from other sources, including public work supports and other public benefits, fall below the basic needs budget standard for where they live. By comparison, only 12.6 percent of Americans live below the federal poverty line.

Economic (In)Security – The Experience of the African-American and Latino Middle Classes

Source: Jennifer Wheary, Thomas M. Shapiro, Tamara Draut, Tatjana Meschede, Dēmos, February 21, 2008

From the summary:
The post-World War II emergence of the American middle class was the direct, deliberate result of broad public investments that created economic opportunity, promoted upward mobility, and expanded the middle class. Even after decades of progress, substantial economic disparities remain along racial and ethnic boundaries. These disparities are apparent when comparing white households with the two fastest growing racial and ethnic groups in America, African Americans and Latinos. As a result of these barriers, these groups continue to experience greater barriers to entering and staying the middle class.

This report builds on our previous report, By a Thread: The New Experience of America’s Middle Class, which used an innovative Middle Class Security Index to measure the financial security of the middle class. The Index measures five key factors to determine whether a household’s overall profile supports middle-class economic security, puts them at high risk of falling out of the middle class, or leaves them somewhere in between. For each of the five areas measured by the Index – education, assets, housing, budget and healthcare – we have established thresholds that would support overall financial security or would threaten it.

The Economic State of Young America

Source: Tamara Draut, Dēmos, Spring 2008

From the press release:
Today’s young adults are feeling the impact of a massive shift in the U.S. economy–changes that are documented in a new data report from Demos and an analysis of public opinion polling by The Center for American Progress.

The Demos report, “The Economic State of Young America,” is a comprehensive databook offering proof that a combination of declining incomes, growing debt, and high costs of education, homeownership and healthcare are conspiring to make this generation the first to not surpass the living standards of their parents.
The Progressive Generation: How Young Adults Think About the Economy
Center for American Progress

Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality That Limits Our Lives

Source: Sam Pizzigati, Apex press, 2006

From the press release:
America’s richest 1 percent now holds more wealth — over $2 trillion more — than America’s entire bottom 90 percent. Might America need a ‘maximum wage’?

FDR once thought so, and so does Sam Pizzigati, the veteran labor journalist whose new Greed and Good makes vividly clear why inequality remains our nation’s most crushing burden.

Pulling Apart: A State-by-State Analysis of Income Trends

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 9, 2008

A state-by-state examination of trends in income inequality over the past two business cycles finds that inequality has grown in most parts of the country since the late 1980s. The incomes of the country’s highest-income families have climbed substantially, while middle- and lower-income families have seen only modest increases.

From Work to Retirement: Tracking Changes in Women’s Poverty Status

Source: Sunhwa Lee, Lois Shaw, AARP Policy & Research, Pub ID: 2008-03, February 2008

From press release:
Women are nearly twice as likely to be poor as men as they reach pre-retirement and retirement ages, according to a new report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI). The study, titled “From Work To Retirement: Tracking Changes in Women’s Poverty Status,” found that variables such as marital status, labor force participation, and health status affect the risk of poverty for women as they age.

Women’s longer life expectancies play a large role in determining their lifetime financial security. They are more likely to lose a spouse – nearly 40 percent of women 65 and older were unmarried and living alone compared to only 16 percent of men – and they are also more likely to encounter health related problems.
In Brief

A Major Setback for Pay Equality: The Supreme Court’s Decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

Source: Norma M. Riccucci, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 28, no. 1, March 2008
(subscription required)

Pay inequities based on gender continue to pervade the public and private sector landscapes. Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 proscribe unequal pay for equal work, the newly formed U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (2007) that ignores Court precedents as well as provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, making it more difficult for employees to file suit for pay inequities. Ultimately, the problem of pay disparities in the workplace can only worsen.
See also:
S. 1843 Fair Pay Restoration Act

Global Gender Pay Gap

Source: Catherine Chubb, Simone Melis, Louisa Potter, Raymond Storry, International Trade Union Confederation, February 2008

From the press release:
Brussels, 6 March 2008: On the eve of International Women’s Day, a new ITUC report, the Global Gender Pay Gap reveals that on average, women are paid 16% less than their male counterparts. The report includes detailed analysis of statistics from official sources in 63 countries around the world. Data from an online salary survey covering more than 400,000 workers in 12 countries is also included in the new study.

Do Subprime Loans Create Subprime Cities? Surging Inequality and the Rise In Predatory Lending

Source: Gregory D. Squires, Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper no. 197, February 28, 2008

From the press release:
The development of a two-tiered system of financial services, driven by the rising economic inequality in the United States, is ushering in a new era of de facto redlining, according to a new paper from the Economic Policy Institute, “Do Subprime Loans Create Subprime Cities? Surging Inequality and the Rise in Predatory Lending.”

In the paper, published by EPI as part of its Agenda for Shared Prosperity, author, Gregory D. Squires, a George Washington University sociologist, contends that increasing economic inequality and diminishing access to conventional financial services have become inextricably linked.