Category Archives: Income Inequality/Gap

40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream

Source: Dedrick Muhammad, Inequality and the Common Good, April 2, 2008

Dr. Martin Luther King recognized that the next phase in the African-American’s quest for civil rights and equality was one that would focus on the economic divide between the wealthiest Americans, the working class, and those in poverty. King’s analysis of economic inequality as the foundation of racial inequality remains as valid today as it was 40 years ago.

40 Years Later: The Unrealized American Dream examines the progress in and challenges to economic equality between African Americans and whites since April 4, 1968 using data from the US Census Bureau, the Economic Policy Institute, the Survey of Consumer Finances, and other sources. Findings conclude that despite educational advances, economic equality for African Americans is still a dream, not a reality.

The Rich and the Rest of Us

Source: John Cavanagh & Chuck Collins, Nation, June 30, 2008

Over the past three decades, market-worshiping politicians and their corporate backers have engineered the most colossal redistribution of wealth in modern world history, a redistribution from the bottom up, from working people to a tiny global elite.

This special issue of The Nation exposes the widespread costs of this rising inequality and offers a blueprint on how to reverse course. We will never achieve social and economic justice for those at the bottom of our economic pyramid until we tackle wealth concentration at the top.

Tools for Narrowing the Great Divide

Source: Working Group on Extreme Inequality, 2008

Interested in conducting a workshop on extreme inequality for your community group, local union, or religious congregation? Looking for materials that can help you give an inequality-related presentation? Or just want to get yourself up to speed on growing great divide between the super-rich and everyone else?

Just browse around this Tools section. Please check back regularly. We’ll be adding new aids for understanding extreme inequality on a regular basis.
See also:
By the Numbers Chartpack

The Rising Instability of American Family Incomes, 1969-2004 Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

Source: Jacob S. Hacker and Elisabeth Jacobs, Economic Policy Institute, EPI Briefing Paper #213, May 29, 2008

Most Americans are aware that income inequality has increased in the last 30 years. Less well known is that income instability–how much families’ incomes fluctuate up and down over time–has also grown substantially.
See also:
Press release
Income volatility: Another source of growing economic insecurity

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.