Income Inequality Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Income Inequality Media Articles in Major Media
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Activists who say too many poor people are unfairly languishing in U.S. jails because they can’t afford to post cash bail are increasingly deploying a new tactic: Bailing out strangers. Community groups are collecting donations from individuals, churches, cities and other organizations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and Nashville, to bail out indigent prisoners. They’ve freed several thousand people in the last few years, and the number is growing. The overwhelming majority of defendants still show up for court. Once free, the defendants are better able to fight their case, often leading to charges being dropped or reduced. “Many, many people are having their lives ruined pre-trial because they can’t afford to get out of jail,” said Max Suchan, who co-founded the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which had bailed out 50 people as of December. The bail funds are a step toward a larger goal for some legal reform activists: abolishing the cash bail system. Advocates say it creates two unequal tiers of justice: one for people who can afford bail and one for people who can’t. In Chicago the anti-cash bail movement has a seemingly unlikely ally in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. He argues the cash system should be abolished and replaced with more thorough background checks; if a person is considered dangerous, they stay in jail and if they’re not, they go free, with access to services such as drug-addiction counseling if needed.
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For the investors and market-movers at the annual World Economic Forum [in Davos, Switzerland], a threat lurks. At cocktail parties where the Champagne flows, financiers have expressed bewilderment over the rise of populist groups that are feeding a backlash against globalization. The world order has been upended. As the United States retreats from the promise of free trade, China is taking up the mantle. The stark shift leaves investors trying to assess the new risk and opportunities in the global economy. “This is the first time there is absolutely no consensus,” said William F. Browder ... who has been coming to Davos for 21 years. “Everyone is looking into the abyss.” The religion of the global elite - free trade and open markets - is under attack, and there has been a lot of hand-wringing, [but] little agreement on how to deal with it. The biggest concern? Finding a way to make the people who are driving populist movements feel like they are part of the global economic pie that Davos participants have created and largely own. Ian Bremmer, the president of Eurasia Group, a political-research firm, offered his advice: “Elites won’t be able to manage populism until they stop seeing it as a threat and start seeing it as a symptom.” If that is the case, Davos has, so far, made little progress. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba in China, offered his view of the problem in the United States. Americans, he said, “do not distribute the money properly.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of the secret societies of the elite which manipulate global politics from behind the scenes, and deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
History-altering numbers of people have grown enraged at the economic elite and their tendency to hog the spoils of globalization. The people gathered ... in the Swiss Alps for the annual World Economic Forum have noticed this. They are the elite, [and] they are eager to talk about how to set things right, soothing the populist fury by making globalization a more lucrative proposition for the masses. Myriad panel discussions are focused on finding the best way to “reform capitalism,” make globalization work and revive the middle class. What is striking is what generally is not discussed: bolstering the power of workers to bargain for better wages and redistributing wealth from the top to the bottom. “That agenda is anathema to a lot of Davos men and women,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate economist. “The stark reality is that globalization has reduced the bargaining power of workers, and corporations have taken advantage of it.” The Davos elites have enjoyed outsize influence over economic policies in recent decades as a growing share of wealth has, perhaps not coincidentally, landed in the coffers of people with a need for bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands, while poor and middle-class households have seen their earnings stagnate and decline. Yet the solutions that have currency seem calculated to spare corporations and the wealthiest people from having to make any sacrifices at all, as if there is a way to be found to tilt the balance of inequality while those at the top hang on to everything they have.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday. Presenting its findings on the dawn of the annual gathering of the global political and business elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, anti-poverty organization Oxfam says the gap between the very rich and poor is far greater than just a year ago. "It is obscene for so much wealth to be held in the hands of so few when 1 in 10 people survive on less than $2 a day," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, who will be attending the meeting in Davos. "Inequality is trapping hundreds of millions in poverty; it is fracturing our societies and undermining democracy." The same report a year earlier said that the richest 62 people on the planet owned as much wealth as the bottom half of the population. However, Oxfam has revised that figure down to eight following new information gathered by Swiss bank Credit Suisse.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present. At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous. They know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness. For the people who saw security and status as their birthright ... these losses are unbearable. Donald Trump speaks directly to that pain. The Brexit campaign spoke to that pain. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and anger at remote economic bureaucracies. And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class.
Note: Learn more about the highly secretive Davos class in these summaries of major media articles on secret societies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.
Essential medicines could be provided for as little as $1-$2 US a month per person in developing countries, experts said on Monday as they called on governments to boost efforts to ensure everyone can access basic healthcare. Although global spending on medicines is about eight times this amount, one in five countries spends less than $1 per month per person, according to the first analysis of the cost of providing key drugs by The Lancet Commission on Essential Medicines. The commission, comprising 21 international experts, said lack of access to affordable, quality medicines was threatening progress towards universal health coverage. The list of essential medicines contains 201 drugs needed for a basic healthcare system. The commission estimated the cost of providing essential medicines to the populations of low- and middle-income countries to be between $77 billion and $152 billion a year. It said 41 countries were spending less than $1 per person per month on medicines while global spending on medicines in 2017 was predicted to be $1.2 trillion. The experts said "massive inequities and inefficiencies" in financing and governance were restricting access to drugs for many people. They said persistent problems with the quality and safety of medicines in many low- and middle-income countries must also be addressed with better regulation, [and] called for urgent reforms in the way essential drugs are developed and patented to improve affordability and access.
The world cannot rely solely on free markets to deliver medicines needed by billions of people in poor countries, so governments should commit to a legally binding convention to coordinate and fund research and development. That's the conclusion of a major United Nations report. The high-level panel was set up last year by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to find solutions to the "policy incoherence" between the rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health needs. The final report ... calls for a de-linkage of R&D costs and drug prices — at least in areas where the system is failing, such as tropical diseases and the hunt for new antibiotics against "superbug" resistant bacteria. The report attacks the "implicit threats" it says are sometimes used by Western governments and companies to stop poorer countries from exercising their right to over-ride drug patents under World Trade Organization rules. That may not go down well in Washington, given the United States' long-standing defence of the international intellectual property system, which has governed world trade for more than two decades. The panel also calls for greater transparency on the true cost of developing a new drug, citing estimates of anything between $150 million US and $4 billion US per medicine. And it wants disclosure on the real prices paid by insurers and governments for drugs, after discounts. The UN panel consisted of representatives from government, academia, health activism and industry.
Note: Big Pharma has long lobbied for protection of its rights to huge profits from new medicines and kept secret its costs for R&D by refusing to separate these costs from marketing costs. For lots more, read a profoundly revealing essay by the former head of one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and income inequality.
Despite having one of the world's most advanced economies, the United States lags far behind other countries in its policies for expectant mothers. In addition to being the only highly competitive country where mothers are not guaranteed paid leave, it sits in stark contrast to countries such as Cuba and Mongolia that offer expectant mothers one year or more of paid leave. Countries finance paid-maternal-leave policies in a variety of ways. Some require that the employer finance the leave; in others, the money comes from public funds. For low-income residents or those who work in the informal sector, an increasing number of governments are providing maternity cash benefits, according to the International Labor Organization, a U.N.-affiliated agency. From Gambia to Bangladesh, a majority of low- and middle-income countries offer some form of paid leave to mothers. Because current U.S. policy doesn't mandate paid maternity leave, many women feel they have to choose between working and raising a family. This gender inequity undermines their prospects of equal opportunity at work — and, experts say, it disproportionately affects women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A 2012 study conducted by the Department of Labor found that, of the workers it polled, 23 percent of women who had left work to care for an infant took less than two weeks off, increasing health risks for both mothers and children.
Massachusetts is set to adopt a first of its kind equal pay law – one that its supporters are lauding as the most thorough in the nation. The law ... will make it illegal for employers to inquire about salary or wage history. However, employees will be able to share their salary history if they choose to. Massachusetts is the first US state to bar inquiries into salary history. The law is intended to break the pattern of unequal pay for women in the workforce, since employers will no longer be encouraged to low-ball female employees in negotiations who may have been paid unequally in their previous jobs. “For too many generations women have done equally hard, equally skilled, and equally responsible work as men in the same workplace,” said state senator Pat Jehlen, one of the bill’s backers. “This is an important milestone on the journey toward equity for women and families all across this Commonwealth.” Supporters cite a study which shows women in the state still earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male peers, despite the fact that Massachusetts was the first in the nation to adopt an equal pay law more than 60 years ago, nine years before the first federal legislation was passed. [The law] will also make Massachusetts the one of a few states including California and New York to pass a “comparable work” law, giving leverage to employees who may try to sue their employers over unequal pay.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The top 1% of Americans are finally recovering from the great recession. A new analysis of IRS data revealed that the average income of the top 1% of income earners grew by 7.7% in 2015, reaching $1.36m. Report author Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at the University of California-Berkeley ... revealed that in 2015, the rich were also taking home larger chunk of the US income. “The share of income going to the top 10% of income earners – those making on average about $300,000 a year – increased to 50.5% in 2015 from 50.0% in 2014, the highest ever except for 2012,” Saez wrote. It should not come as a shock that to many Americans talk of economic recovery rings hollow. The top 1% of families saw their income grow by 37% between 2009 to 2015, from $990,000 to $1.36m. The incomes of the other 99%, however, grew by just 7.6% during that time – from $45,300 in 2009 to $48,800 in 2015. In 2015, the income of the 99% grew by just 3.9%. After factoring in inflation, Saez calls it: “the best real income growth in 17 years”. And the rich? At 7.7%, their growth was twice that. Economy remains a top concern for US voters, according to a recent Gallup survey of 1,530 adults. The gap between rich and poor is bigger now than it’s been just about any time since the 1920s.
CEOs at the biggest companies got a 4.5 percent pay raise last year. That's almost double the typical American worker's, and a lot more than investors earned from owning their stocks - a big fat zero. The typical chief executive in the Standard & Poor's 500 index made $10.8 million, including bonuses, stock awards and other compensation, according to a study by executive data firm Equilar for The Associated Press. That's up from the median of $10.3 million the same group of CEOs made a year earlier. The raise alone for median CEO pay last year, $468,449, is more than 10 times what the typical U.S. worker makes in a year. The median full-time worker earned $809 weekly in 2015, up from $791 in 2014. "With inflation running at less than 2 percent, why?" asks Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. The answer is complicated. CEO pay packages now hinge on multiple layers of sometimes esoteric measurements of performance. That's a result of corporate boards attempting to respond to years of criticism ... from Main Street America, regulators and even candidates on the presidential trail this year. One bright spot, experts say, is the rise in the number of companies that tie CEO pay to how well their stocks perform. "There's progress generally in aligning compensation with shareholder returns," says Stu Dalheim, vice president of governance and advocacy at Calvert Investments. "But I don't think this compensation is sustainable."
The Federal Reserve's monetary policies "probably" fueled wealth inequality in the U.S. during the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to a former regional Fed bank president. Narayana Kocherlakota, who until this year headed the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ... wrote in a candid op-ed Wednesday that "it's not surprising that poorer American families got the impression that the Fed did more to help banks during the financial crisis and associated recession than it did to help them. The wealth of the typical family in the bottom three-quarters of the distribution declined by a lot more than that of the typical family in the top 10th [between 2007 and 2010]," Kocherlakota wrote. "This was partly the result of leverage: The poorer families tended to have more debt for each dollar in assets, so any decline in assets translated into a much larger percentage decrease in net worth." So as housing prices collapsed in the late 2000s, poorer families were left with large pools of debt and significantly diminished assets, while more wealthy families suffered less drastic blows even though they largely had greater exposure to high-value assets. The Fed's policies, then, appeared to more dramatically affect the fortunes of lower-income Americans than the nation's richest households. Kocherlakota thinks the Fed could have done more. Suggesting that the Fed's moves inherently contributed to rising income inequality in the U.S., though, is a surprising stance for a former regional bank president to take.
Manufacturing jobs used to be a path to the middle class. But now many skilled, working Americans need some form of public assistance because their wages don’t pay for basic living expenses. Over 2 million supervised manufacturing workers, or about a third of the total, need food stamps, Medicaid, tax credits for the poor or other forms of publicly subsided assistance while they work on goods that can carry the tag “Made in the U.S.A.,” according to research of official government wage and welfare data released Tuesday by the University of California, Berkeley. The cost of these benefits to the U.S. taxpayer? From 2009 to 2013, federal and state governments subsidized the low manufacturing wages paid by the private sector to the tune of $10.2 million per year. “In decades past, production workers employed in manufacturing earned wages significantly higher than the U.S. average, but by 2013 the typical manufacturing production worker made 7.7 percent below the median wage for all occupations,” said the paper. The research aimed to extend an already well-established national debate on wages paid in the service industry, which are often juxtaposed to the factory work that lifted millions of Americans out of poverty for much of the 20th century. The research comes as U.S. workers overall are experiencing one of the lowest paces of wage growth on record.
The Panama Papers affair has widened, with a huge database of documents relating to more than 200,000 offshore accounts posted online. The papers belonged to Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca and were leaked by a source simply known as "John Doe". The documents have revealed the hidden assets of hundreds of politicians, officials, current and former national leaders, celebrities and sports stars. They list more than 200,000 shell companies, foundations and trusts set up ... around the world. Offshore companies are not illegal but their function is often to conceal both the origin and the owners of money, and to avoid tax payments. 11.5 million documents [were] originally given to the German newspaper, Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The paper allowed the ICIJ to have access. Hundreds of journalists ... then worked on the data. Their reporting was published last month. On Monday, 300 economists signed a letter urging world leaders to end tax havens, saying they only benefited rich individuals and multinational corporations, while boosting inequality. Last week, "John Doe" issued an 1,800-word statement, citing "income equality" as his motive [for leaking the documents]. He said: "Banks, financial regulators and tax authorities have failed. Decisions have been made that have spared the wealthy while focusing instead on reining in middle- and low-income citizens." He revealed he had never worked for a spy agency or a government and offered to help law authorities make prosecutions in return for immunity.
Note: Explore an excellent webpage on how to use this database of the Panama Papers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about financial industry corruption and income inequality.
A small core of super-rich individuals is responsible for the record sums cascading into the coffers of super PACs for the 2016 elections, a dynamic that harks back to the financing of presidential campaigns in the Gilded Age. Close to half the money - 41 percent - raised by the groups by the end of February came from just 50 mega-donors and their relatives, according to a Washington Post analysis. Donors this cycle have given more than $607 million to 2,300 super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations. That means super PAC money is on track to surpass the $828 million that the Center for Responsive Politics found was raised by such groups for the 2012 elections. The top 50 contributors together donated $248 million personally and through their privately held companies, or more than $4 out of every $10 raised by all super PACs. The last time political wealth was so concentrated was in 1896, when corporations and banking moguls helped McKinley, the Republican candidate, outspend Democratic rival William Jennings Bryan. Populist anger over how presidential races were financed led to a 1907 ban on corporations donating to federal campaigns. Forty years later, Congress prohibited unions and corporations from making independent expenditures in federal races. The picture dramatically changed in 2010, when the Supreme Court said in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that corporations and unions could spend unlimited sums on politics.
Note: The "Koch Empire" alone plans to spend $889 million on US elections in 2016. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public perception. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
The top 50 U.S. companies have stored $1.4 trillion in tax havens, Oxfam America reported Thursday. Oxfam released its new report, “Broken at the Top,” ahead of Tax Day in the U.S. and shortly after of the Panama Papers leak to show the extent to which major corporations such as Pfizer, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Alphabet, Disney and Coca-Cola keep money in offshore funds. The use of over 1,600 subsidiaries lowered their global tax rate on $4 trillion of profit to an average of 26.5%, compared to the statutory minimum of 35%, according to Oxfam. Additionally, for every dollar of taxes these companies paid, they collectively received $27 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts - footed by American taxpayers. “The vast sums large companies stash in tax havens should be fighting poverty and rebuilding America’s infrastructure, not hidden offshore in Panama, Bahamas, or the Cayman Islands,” Oxfam America president Raymond Offenheiser said in a statement.
The Justice Department is asking local courts across the country to be wary of how they slap poor defendants with fines and fees. In a letter ... to the chief judges and court administrators in all 50 states, Vanita Gupta, the head of the department’s Civil Rights Division, and Lisa Foster, director of the Office for Access to Justice, wrote that illegal enforcement of fines and fees had been receiving increased attention. “Individuals may confront escalating debt; face repeated, unnecessary incarceration for nonpayment despite posing no danger to the community; lose their jobs; and become trapped in cycles of poverty that can be nearly impossible to escape,” Gupta and Foster wrote. “Furthermore, in addition to being unlawful, to the extent that these practices are geared ... toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents.” The White House and the department convened a summit on the issue in December. The Justice Department alleged in a recent lawsuit that officers in Ferguson, Mo., were violating citizens’ civil rights in part because their policing tactics were meant to generate revenue. The financial penalties - typically for minor misdemeanors, traffic infractions or violations of city code - disproportionately affect the poor, who cannot afford to pay immediately and are then hit with arrest warrants or additional penalties. Some towns [derive] 40 percent or more of their annual revenue from [these] petty fines and fees.
Note: Along with relying on municipal fines and fees that disproportionately impact the poor, some police departments simply steal from people when times get tough. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and income inequality.
The pernicious influence of "economic hit men" has spread around the globe. John Perkins revealed his first-hand experience of this violent and coercive phenomenon. Now, in The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, he brings this story of greed and corruption up to date. The treacherous cancer beneath the surface, which was revealed in the original Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, has ... spread from the economically developing countries to the United States and the rest of the world; it attacks the very foundations of democracy and the planet's life-support systems. Although this cancer has spread widely and deeply, most people still aren't aware of it; yet all of us are impacted by the collapse it has caused. It has become the dominant system of economics, government, and society today, [and] created a "death economy" - one based on wars or the threat of war, debt, and the rape of the earth's resources. Although the death economy is built on a form of capitalism, it is important to note that the word capitalism ... includes local farmers' markets as well as this very dangerous form of global corporate capitalism, controlled by the corporatocracy. Despite all the bad news and the attempts of modern-day robber barons to steal our democracy and our planet ... when enough of us perceive the true workings of this EHM system, we will take the individual and collective actions necessary to control the cancer and restore our health.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment report at 8:30 a.m.. [Daniel Nadler] sat at the kitchen table in his one-bedroom apartment ... as the software of his company, Kensho, scraped the data from the bureau’s website. Within two minutes, an automated Kensho analysis popped up on his screen. At 8:35 a.m., Kensho’s analysis would be made available to employees at Goldman Sachs. In addition to being a customer, Goldman is also Kensho’s largest investor. "People always tell me ... ‘I used to have a guy whose job it was to do nothing other than this one thing," Nadler said. Within a decade, he said, between a third and a half of the current employees in finance will lose their jobs to Kensho and other automation software. If jobs can be displaced at Goldman, they can probably be displaced even more quickly at other, less sophisticated companies, within the financial industry as well as without. In late 2013, two Oxford academics released a paper claiming that 47 percent of current American jobs are at "high risk" of being automated within the next 20 years. So far the burden of job losses is stopping just short of the executive suites, even as the gains in efficiency are worsening already troubling levels of income inequality.
Has Michael Moore gone soft? You might think so, making a snap judgment of Where to Invade Next, a ... documentary hellbent on seeing the best in people. Other people. Not us Americans. Moore sets up his film by daydreaming about a summons from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Instead of using Marines, use me," he pleads. As we watch a collage of America at its worst – bank scandals, stock frauds, housing foreclosures, black teens murdered by cops – Moore sets out to invade the world for bright ideas. In Italy, he meets a couple who get 30 days paid vacation each year with no loss in productivity. In France, Moore is astonished by school kids who are served nutritional food. On a visit to a Norway prison, the worst felons are treated with compassion, with sentences capped at 21 years, even for murderers. Yet the crime rate is low, as is recidivism. In Tunisia, women win free health care from a hidebound Islamist regime. And get a load of Portugal, where using drugs is not a crime, but rehab is offered to those who want it. A trip to Iceland finds that the bankers who brought economic ruin to their country are thrown in jail instead of being bailed out. Love him or hate his methods, Moore touches a nerve in Where to Invade Next. In a climactic remembrance at the Berlin Wall, he recalls a time when a corrupt regime was brought down by people willing to protest. What counted most were humanitarian principles, the same bedrock concepts that America was founded on. See, the joke's on us.
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