Browsing articles tagged with " inequality"
Jul 23, 2017
boyce
Comments Off on Moral equality – and immoral inequality

Moral equality – and immoral inequality

From Robert Reich’s review of two new books about the perils of concentrated wealth & power:

The greatest threat to Western liberal democracies in the future is more likely to come from extreme inequality than from Islamic extremism. This is because inequality erodes two foundation stones of modern society — openness to new ideas and opportunities, and a conviction that all citizens are morally equal.

Read more here.

Jul 4, 2017
boyce
Comments Off on Trumped

Trumped

Bernie Sanders offers an analysis of why Trump came to be president, and where we go from here:

I’m often asked by the media and others: How did it come about that Donald Trump, the most unpopular presidential candidate in the modern history of our country, won the election? And my answer is—and my answer is that Trump didn’t win the election; the Democratic Party lost the election.

Read his speech here.

Jul 3, 2017
boyce
Comments Off on This changes not much: performance of moral virtue as politics

This changes not much: performance of moral virtue as politics

Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything has attracted many admirers on the left. A thought-provoking exception is economist Peter Dorman, who writes:

[R]edefining politics as the performance of moral virtue rather than the contest for power can provide consolation when political avenues appear to be blocked. Activities of this sort are evaluated according to how expressive they are—how good they make us feel—rather than any objective criterion of effectiveness in achieving concrete goals or altering the balance of political forces.

Read his critique of the book here.

Feb 16, 2017
boyce
Comments Off on Inequality undermining Social Security

Inequality undermining Social Security

The upward redistribution of income in the U.S. is undermining the nation’s Social Security:

if you’re a millionaire, February 16th is the last day that you will pay into the social security for the entire year. That’s because the Federal payroll tax cap is set at $127,000, so any money made beyond this point, is not subject to taxation that would fund this very crucial Federal social program.

See Real News Network interview with Dean Baker of the Center for Economic Policy Research here.

Jan 19, 2017
boyce
Comments Off on American bifurcation

American bifurcation

Inequality by the numbers:

Source: “Economic growth in the United States: A tale of two countries,” by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Dec 9, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Taxing inequality in Portland

Taxing inequality in Portland

Portland, Oregon, has instituted a first-ever tax on corporations that pay their CEOs more than 100 times as much as their workers. Econ4’s Doug Smith told the Portland City Council:

“Instead of building a real economy beneficial to all, these unethical pay practices spread outsourcing, offshoring, tax avoidance, downsizing and the substitution of good-paying permanent jobs with temporary, precarious employment.”

Read about it here.

Nov 7, 2016
econ4org
Comments Off on Universal basic assets

Universal basic assets

Econ4’s Jim Boyce and Peter Barnes, author of With Liberty and Dividends for All, break down how universal basic income could be funded by common wealth:

The wealth we inherit and create together is worth trillions of dollars, yet we presently derive almost no income from it. Our joint inheritance includes invaluable gifts of nature such as our atmosphere, minerals and fresh water, and socially created assets such as our legal and financial infrastructure, without which private corporations couldn’t exist, much less thrive. If our common assets were better managed, they could pay every American, including children, several hundred dollars a month.

Read their piece here.

Oct 16, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on The Trumpbeat of inequality

The Trumpbeat of inequality

Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz writes:

Where the trade agreements failed, it was not because the US was outsmarted by its trading partners; it was because the US trade agenda was shaped by corporate interests….

We need to rewrite the rules of the economy once again, this time to ensure that ordinary citizens benefit. Politicians in the US and elsewhere who ignore this lesson will be held accountable. Change entails risk. But the Trump phenomenon – and more than a few similar political developments in Europe – has revealed the far greater risks entailed by failing to heed this message: societies divided, democracies undermined, and economies weakened.

Read more here.

Oct 6, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on The deserving rich?

The deserving rich?

Nancy Folbre takes issue with Harvard professor Gregory Mankiw’s defense of the one percent:

The rich are not like you and me. They contribute far more to society than everybody else, so argues Harvard University economist Gregory Mankiw in his essay “Defending the One Percent.” Mankiw’s praise for talented superstars such as Steven Jobs, J.K. Rowling, and Steven Spielberg quickly blooms into a more general argument that competitive labor markets pay workers what they deserve. This is music to the ears of high earners, and it sings to a very human desire to believe that the world is fair….

Some of us contribute more than members of the top one percent to the economy, and some of us contribute less. None of us gets exactly what we deserve. One difference between the rich and us is that they have more money. They also enjoy—both as cause and effect—a lot more power.

Read her blog here; read her working paper on “just desserts” here.

Sep 13, 2016
boyce
Comments Off on Plutocracy vs. democracy

Plutocracy vs. democracy

Bill Moyers on the need for a level playing field and real democracy:

In May, President Obama and I both spoke at the Rutgers University commencement ceremony.  He was at his inspirational best as 50,000 people leaned into every word.  He lifted the hearts of those young men and women heading out into our troubled world, but I cringed when he said, “Contrary to what we hear sometimes from both the left as well as the right, the system isn’t as rigged as you think…”

Wrong, Mr. President, just plain wrong. The people are way ahead of you on this.  In a recent poll, 71% of Americans across lines of ethnicity, class, age, and gender said they believe the U.S. economy is rigged.  People reported that they are working harder for financial security.  One quarter of the respondents had not taken a vacation in more than five years.  Seventy-one percent said that they are afraid of unexpected medical bills; 53% feared not being able to make a mortgage payment; and, among renters, 60% worried that they might not make the monthly rent.

Millions of Americans, in other words, are living on the edge.  Yet the country has not confronted the question of how we will continue to prosper without a workforce that can pay for its goods and services….

The religion of inequality — of money and power — has failed us; its gods are false gods.  There is something more essential — more profound — in the American experience than the hyena’s appetite.  Once we recognize and nurture this, once we honor it, we can reboot democracy and get on with the work of liberating the country we carry in our hearts.

Read his powerful essay, “We, the Plutocrats vs. We, the People,” here.