Tag Archives | income inequality

Universal Basic Income: one thing the libertarian right and progressive left can agree on

I came across this article on the subreddit, Futurology.

Ben Schiller via FastCoexist:

What if the government simply paid everyone enough so that no one was poor? It’s an insane idea that’s gaining an unlikely alliance of supporters.

There’s a simple way to end poverty: the government just gives everyone enough money, so nobody is poor. No ifs, buts, conditions, or tests. Everyone gets the minimum they need to survive, even if they already have plenty.

This, in essence, is “universal minimum income” or “guaranteed basic income”—where, instead of multiple income assistance programs, we have just one: a single payment to all citizens, regardless of background, gender, or race. It’s a policy idea that sounds crazy at first, but actually begins to make sense when you consider some recent trends.

The first is that work isn’t what it used to be. Many people now struggle through a 50-hour week and still don’t have enough to live on.

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Joe Stiglitz: How to Solve Inequality, if Anyone Will Listen

"Joseph E. Stiglitz - cropped" by File:Joseph E. Stiglitz.jpg: Government of Thailandderivative work: LK (talk) - File:Joseph E. Stiglitz.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

This is an interesting interview, via Gawker:

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and author of The Great Divide: Unequal Societies and What We Can Do About Them, is one of the world’s most influential thinkers in the battle against economic inequality. He’s trying hard to remain optimistic. But it ain’t easy.

Gawker: Have you seen progress on inequality since the financial crisis and the Occupy movement made it a mainstream issue?

Joseph Stiglitz: What I’ve seen, I would say, is progress in the discussion. It has moved up to the mainstream, with people in both parties talking about it, all the presidential candidates, and that’s obviously a major step forward. If anything, I suppose, inequality in some dimensions has gotten worse. There have been a few steps forward—the raising of the minimum wage, the number of cities passing local minimum wages.

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#BillionairesVsTeachers – End The Carried Interest Tax Loophole

Yesterday I was honored to attend the premiere of a new short film by Robert Greenwald and the Brave New Films team, presented by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. The film’s rather clunky title is “Hedge Fund Billionaires vs Kindergarten Teachers: Whose Side Are You On?,” but it makes the point very eloquently that for just 25 hedge fund managers to make more money in a year than all of the kindergarten teachers in America (150,000+) is income inequality and injustice in the extreme.


Lynn Parramore, far left, interviews Bill de Blasio, Robert Greenwald and Lena Lombardi (from left).


Oh, and on top of that, the hedge fund managers pay tax at a lower rate than the teachers!

Mayor de Blasio and Robert Greenwald were joined in the Q&A by the amazingly articulate kindergarten teacher Lena Lombardi and they each made the point very forcefully that the so-called “carried interest” tax code loophole allowing hedge fund guys to pay tax on their income at the lower capital gains rate is outrageous.… Read the rest

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#BaltimoreUprising isn’t just about Baltimore

As unrest continues in this broken and beaten down city, if we simply look at the events leading up to the Freddie Gray incident, we see a pattern – a pattern that is noticeable nationwide. A pattern of robbery, racism, injustice and inequality. Freddie Gray is the tip of the iceberg but this corruption runs deep – from TPP to FTP. #RiseUp

Watch the full episode: http://youtu.be/asonJ3tEJFw

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Joseph Stiglitz’s Three Steps to Solve Income Inequality

Maverick economist Joseph Stiglitz says there are three steps we need to take to remedy extreme income inequality. He sells his ideas via Yahoo News:

It’s the hollowing out of the U.S. economy. The haves are getting more, the have nots are getting less.  And the middle class is disappearing.

Between 2000 and 2013, every single state in the United States saw its share of middle-class families shrink, according to analysis from the Pew Charitable Trusts. In some states like Wisconsin and Ohio, that number fell by more than 5 percentage points; middle-income families now make up less than half of those states’ populations.

It’s not a new narrative but the modern story of inequality goes much deeper than stagnant wage growth. It’s inequality of opportunity as well.  It’s something Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has studied and written about a great deal. He talks with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in the video above.

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Does Inequality Cause Crime?

By craftivist collective via Flickr (cc by 2.0).

By craftivist collective via Flickr (cc by 2.0).


via The Atlantic:

In 1899, Thorstein Veblen described a type of good that is more lusted after the more expensive it is (think Ferraris). And in 1968, the economist Gary S. Becker theorized that criminals perform cost-benefit analyses just like everyone else: What are the odds of getting caught, and what’s the potential payoff? These two frameworks have lived out vibrant lives in academic journals, high-school textbooks, and college lecture halls, but, as they’re ostensibly unrelated, they’ve rarely been put in conversation with one another.

A study put out this month in Oxford Economic Papers does just that, in an effort to come up with a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between inequality and violence. There’s a good amount of research from all over the world that suggests that places with pronounced income inequality are more likely to have high rates of violent crime, a finding that makes intuitive sense: the wider the socioeconomic gap, per Becker’s 1968 model, the more gains potential criminals perceive.

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It’s Not Just George Soros Anymore: Plutocrats Worry About Income Inequality

UMP regional elections IlM 2010-02-18 n07“What does it mean when the capitalist vanguard starts talking about inequality?” asks Chrystia Freeland at Politico:

Earlier this year, the most reliable way for a billionaire to make the headlines was to compare suggested tax increases to Nazi Germany. Lately, though, the more interesting shift in the politics of the plutocracy has been more genteel.

There will be more Hitler analogies, of course, but another camp among the superrich is starting to tack in the opposite direction. Some plutocrats accept the evidence that capitalism is no longer working for the middle class, and are trying to figure out what to do about that.

It is not just George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire, who cheerfully describes himself as a class traitor and has been worrying about the shortcomings of what he calls free-market fundamentalism for decades, anymore. Among the plutocrats, this once-radical perspective is going mainstream.

You could see that in London in late May, at a conference on “Inclusive Capitalism.” In the graceful, gilded rooms of the Guildhall, the historic seat of the City, one of the world’s two centers of finance, international investors controlling $30 trillion worth of asset–one third of the global total—gathered to discuss, as Paul Polman, the CEO of Unilever, put it, “the capitalist threat to capitalism.”

Capitalism, Polman and Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the conference’s organizer, wrote in an introductory essay, “has often proved dysfunctional in important ways.

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Child Abuse Rises with Income Inequality

Pic: Neon Zero (CC)

Pic: Neon Zero (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

As the Great Recession deepened and income inequality became more pronounced, county-by-county rates of child maltreatment — from sexual, physical and emotional abuse to traumatic brain injuries and death — worsened, according to a nationwide study by Cornell University.

The income inequality-child maltreatment study, to be published in the March 2014 edition of the peer-review journal Pediatrics, covers all 3,142 American counties from 2005-09, and is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and the first to target child abuse in places with the greatest gap between rich and poor.

“Our study is the first to demonstrate that increases in income inequality are associated with increases in child maltreatment,” said John J. Eckenrode, professor of human development and director of the Family Life Development Center in the College of Human Ecology. “More equal societies, states and communities have fewer health and social problems than less equal ones — that much was known.

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85 Wealthy Elites Have As Much Wealth As Half The World’s Population

rich peopleA group that could easily fit on a single subway car. Via the Guardian:

The extent to which so much global wealth has become corralled by a virtual handful of the so-called ‘global elite’ is exposed in a new report from Oxfam on Monday. It warned that those richest 85 people across the globe share a combined wealth of £1tn, as much as the poorest 3.5 billion of the world’s population.

The development charity fears this concentration of economic resources is threatening political stability and driving up social tensions.

The report found that over the past few decades, the rich have successfully wielded political influence to skew policies in their favor on issues ranging from financial deregulation, tax havens, to lower tax rates on high incomes and cuts in public services for the majority. Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 out of 30 countries for which data are available, said the report.

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