Browsing articles tagged with " inequality"
May 7, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on Learning from history

Learning from history

A new animation sums up the differences between the “Golden Age”of 1948-71 and the “Great Moderation” of 1985-2007:

Source: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/myth-great-moderation.html.

Apr 12, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on You know it’s getting bad when …

You know it’s getting bad when …

… inequality makes the IMF sing a new tune:

[T]he newfound attention to income inequality isn’t just another facet of a more liberal, Keynesian economic worldview. The fund’s economists have been producing research that suggests that inequality could make the world economy less stable.

Read more here.

Mar 29, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on Right on the money: concentrated wealth versus democracy

Right on the money: concentrated wealth versus democracy

Quiz for today: who said this?

The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power.

Answer: Teddy Roosevelt in a 1910 speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. Paul Krugman quotes Roosevelt to make the case that taxing the rich to safeguard democracy is as American as apple pie. Krugman also quotes Irving Fisher’s 1919 presidential address to the American Economics Association, warning of the dangers of “an undemocratic concentration of wealth.”

“How,” Krugman asks,” did such views not only get pushed out of the mainstream, but come to be considered illegitimate?”

Good question. Krugman’s conclusion is right on the money:

[T]he demonization of anyone who talks about the dangers of concentrated wealth is based on a misreading of both the past and the present. Such talk isn’t un-American; it’s very much in the American tradition.

Read his column here.

Mar 9, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on “Do we invest in students, or millionaires?”

“Do we invest in students, or millionaires?”

That’s the question posed by Senator Elizabeth Warren. She will introduce a bill to levy a minimum tax on incomes above $1 million (known as the “Buffet rule”), and devote the revenue to lowering interest payments on student debt:

Warren’s plan would allow students with outstanding student loans to refinance at lower rates. The cost of the change would be covered by a “dollar for dollar” effort where for “every dollar the Buffet rule brings in, we use that dollar to refinance student loan debt.”

Learn more here.

Feb 19, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on Whose recovery?

Whose recovery?

Econ4’s Jerry Friedman looks at the changing composition of demand in America:

While Sears and J.C. Penney drift towards bankruptcy, Nordstrom and other luxury brands flourish.  Rather than depending on sales to working-class and middle-class consumers American corporations are doing very well selling to rich consumers, here and abroad.  Rather than promising workers high wages to ensure productivity, they maintain labor discipline through fear.

Read his piece here.

Feb 16, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on We’re #1!

We’re #1!

Sam Bowles and Arjun Jayadev reveal a dubious distinction of the American economy:

Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers — over one million of them, or nearly double their number in 1980.

And that’s just a small fraction of what we call “guard labor.” In addition to private security guards, that means police officers, members of the armed forces, prison and court officials, civilian employees of the military, and those producing weapons: a total of 5.2 million workers in 2011. That is a far larger number than we have of teachers at all levels.

Read more here.

Feb 3, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on Maximum wage?

Maximum wage?

Econ4’s Doug Smith writes in the New York Times:

The national discourse continues to sleepwalk past this out-of-the-box question: How about setting a maximum wage for government officials and top-paid government contractors?

 

Read his op-ed piece here.

Jan 20, 2014
boyce
Comments Off on Confessions of a wealth addict

Confessions of a wealth addict

In an insightful, introspective piece in yesterday’s New York Times, a recovering derivatives trader writes:

Like alcoholics driving drunk, wealth addiction imperils everyone. Wealth addicts are, more than anybody, specifically responsible for the ever widening rift that is tearing apart our once great country. Wealth addicts are responsible for the vast and toxic disparity between the rich and the poor and the annihilation of the middle class. Only a wealth addict would feel justified in receiving $14 million in compensation — including an $8.5 million bonus — as the McDonald’s C.E.O., Don Thompson, did in 2012, while his company then published a brochure for its work force on how to survive on their low wages. Only a wealth addict would earn hundreds of millions as a hedge-fund manager, and then lobby to maintain a tax loophole that gave him a lower tax rate than his secretary….

Dozens of different types of 12-step support groups — including Clutterers Anonymous and On-Line Gamers Anonymous — exist to help addicts of various types, yet there is no Wealth Addicts Anonymous. Why not? Because our culture supports and even lauds the addiction.

Read his piece here.

Dec 27, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on The trust deficit

The trust deficit

Joe Stiglitz points out another casualty of widening inequality:

Trust is what makes contracts, plans and everyday transactions possible; it facilitates the democratic process, from voting to law creation, and is necessary for social stability. It is essential for our lives. It is trust, more than money, that makes the world go round….

Inequality in America is degrading our trust. For our own sake, and for the sake of future generations, it’s time to start rebuilding it.

Read more here.

Dec 8, 2013
boyce
Comments Off on McWage

McWage

A humorous look at a not-so-funny subject:

For more videos, see here and here. And Stephen Colbert’s take on the minimum wage debate here.