Income Inequality News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on income inequality
India declared a 21-day lockdown with four hours notice on the midnight of 24 March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All over India, millions of migrant workers are fleeing its shuttered cities and trekking home to their villages. These informal workers are the backbone of the big city economy. Escaping poverty in their villages, most of the estimated 100 million of them live in squalid housing in congested urban ghettos. Last week's lockdown turned them into refugees overnight. Their workplaces were shut, and most employees and contractors who paid them vanished. Sprawled together, men, women and children began their journeys at all hours of the day last week. When the children were too tired to walk, their parents carried them on their shoulders. Clearly, a lockdown to stave off a pandemic is turning into a humanitarian crisis. In the end, India is facing daunting and predictable challenges in enforcing the lockdown and also making sure the poor and homeless are not fatally hurt. India has already announced a $22bn relief package for those affected by the lockdown. The next few days will determine whether the states are able to transport the workers home or keep them in the cities and provide them with food and money. "People are forgetting the big stakes amid the drama of the consequences of the lockdown: the risk of millions of people dying," says Nitin Pai of Takshashila Institution, a prominent think tank. "There too, likely the worst affected will be the poor."
Note: In how many countries besides India is this scenario playing out? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Politicians, celebrities, social media influencers and even N.B.A. teams have been tested for the new coronavirus. But as that list of rich, famous and powerful people grows by the day, so do questions about whether they are getting access to testing that is denied to other Americans. With testing still in short supply in areas of the country, leaving health care workers and many sick people unable to get diagnoses, some prominent personalities have obtained tests without exhibiting symptoms or having known contact with someone who has the virus. In areas of the country where the virus has been slow to appear, people have been able to obtain tests easily. But in New York, California, Washington State and Massachusetts, where the virus has spread rapidly and demand for tests is most high, it is very difficult. The New York City Health Department has directed doctors only to order tests for patients in need of hospitalization. People with mild symptoms are being told to quarantine themselves at home. Even health care workers, at high risk of contracting the virus and transmitting it, have struggled to get tested. Police chiefs across the country are growing concerned that they cannot get their hands on tests. “What’s frustrating is to continue to hear that there aren’t testing kits available, and my rank and file have to continue to answer calls for service while professional athletes and movie stars are getting tested without even showing any symptoms,” said Eddie Garcia, the police chief of San Jose, Calif..
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
In the fields of south Texas Mexican women work long hours in dangerous conditions under the ever-present threat of deportation. Many of them are paid on a contract basis, by the box. A box of cilantro will earn a worker $3; experienced farmworkers say they can fill one within an hour, which means a typical 5am to 6pm work day would earn them $39 total. The work can vary from physically uncomfortable and mundane (cilantro, lettuce, beets) to outright painful and dangerous (watermelon, parsley, grapefruit). The few women who work in the fields face even more hardships. Instances of workplace sexual harassment and rape are rampant and are both underreported and under-prosecuted. It is common for women to relent to a supervisor’s advances because she can’t risk losing her job or deportation. Most of these women are supporting children as well. [They] represent a diverse cross-section of lives upturned by drug-related and domestic violence in Mexico. Under new US immigration protocols, these are extraordinarily tense times for immigrants. A report by Human Rights Watch notes that although US law entitles undocumented workers to workplace protections, “the US government’s interest in protecting unauthorized workers from abuse conflicts with its interest in deporting them.” That report was written in 2015, but President Trump’s heightened drive for deportation and border closure has only made things more impossible for undocumented farmworkers attempting to protect their labor rights.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Los Angeles has sentenced more people to death than any other county in the US, and only people of color have received the death penalty under the region’s current prosecutor, a new report shows. LA county’s district attorney, Jackie Lacey, has won death sentences for a total of 22 defendants, all people of color, and eight of them were represented by lawyers with serious misconduct charges prior or after their cases, according to a new analysis by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Lacey has also faced intense scrutiny for her refusal to prosecute police officers who kill civilians, even in the most egregious circumstances. Some key findings: In California, 222 people currently sentenced to death are from LA county. LA is one of only three counties in the country to have more than 10 death sentences from 2014 to 2018. Under Lacey’s tenure, which began in 2012, zero white defendants have been sentenced to death, and her capital punishment sentences disproportionately targeted cases involving white victims. Although 12% of homicide victims in LA county are white, 36% of Lacey’s death penalty wins involved white victims. 737 inmates [are] currently awaiting execution in California. Defense lawyers in five of the 22 cases under Lacey were suspended or disbarred, which is the most serious discipline for ethics violations, the ACLU said. The ACLU, which reviewed lawyer misconduct records, cited one particularly egregious case in which an attorney declined to make an opening statement – offering no defense at all – and then repeatedly fell asleep during the trial.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the courts from reliable major media sources.
Mark Zuckerberg has had plenty of difficult days in the past year, but this past week was a good one for him. The Facebook CEO’s net worth jumped $5.5 billion in the week through Thursday April 25. The 34-year-old is worth $71.3 billion, $20 billion more than at the beginning of 2019. He is now the 5th richest person in the world, up from No. 8 in March. The positive quarterly earnings report overshadowed news that Facebook is setting aside as much as $5 billion to pay a fine to the Federal Trade Commission over privacy issues. Zuckerberg’s gain was by far the biggest of the week, but he is in good company. The fortunes of Zuckerberg and four other tech billionaires, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, rose by a collective $13 billion in seven days. A day after Facebook released its first-quarter earnings report, Amazon announced a quarterly profit of $3.6 billion, an all-time record for the e-commerce giant. Amazon’s share price rose 2.2% in the week through Thursday, causing Bezos’ net worth to surge by $3.2 billion. The net worth of Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s former CEO, rose $1.7 billion in the week through Thursday as the software giant’s share price increased by 4.7%. Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, is now worth $40 billion after gaining $1.4 billion in a week due to a 6.6% stock uptick. Larry Page, the cofounder of Google and CEO of its parent company Alphabet, got $1.1 billion richer, with an estimated fortune of $57.6 billion.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
American billionaires are calling for changes to the system that enabled them to get rich. Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, Ray Dalio, Bill Gates and a list of others say that capitalism in its current form simply doesn’t work for the rest of the United States. Some of their remedies involve higher taxes. Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio is the most recent to criticize the current economic system. On Monday, the Bridgewater founder told CNBC that while it doesn’t need to be destroyed, capitalism does need to present an equal opportunity, which Dalio said he received through public education. The issue chafing billionaires and politicians alike is a growing income gap. The inequality between rich and poor Americans is as high as it was in late 1930s, Dalio pointed out in a paper posted online. The wealth of the top 1 percent of the population is now more than that of the bottom 90 percent of the population combined. Dalio called growing inequality and lack of investment in public education “an existential risk for the U.S.” Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett - third on Forbe’s 2019 billionaires list - has repeatedly said the wealthy should be taxed more. In 2006, the CEO committed to give all of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations. He and Bill and Melinda Gates have asked hundreds of wealthy Americans to pledge at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity in the so-called “the Giving Pledge.” There are now 190 people signed on, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
On Saturday, September 13th, 2008, the world was about to end. The New York Federal Reserve was a zoo. The crowd included future Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then-Treasury Secretary (and former Goldman Sachs CEO) Hank Paulson, the representatives of multiple regulatory offices, and the CEOs of virtually every major bank in New York. In the twin collapses of top-five investment bank Lehman Brothers and insurance giant AIG, Wall Street saw a civilization-imperiling ball of debt hurtling its way. The legend of that meeting ... is that the tough-minded bank honchos found a way to scrape up just enough cash to steer the debt-comet off course. The plan included a federal bailout of incompetent AIG, along with key mergers – Bank of America buying Merrill, Barclays swallowing the sinking hull of Lehman, etc. The legend is bull. Accurate chronicles of the crisis period [include] the just-released Financial Exposure by Elise Bean of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The crisis response dramatically accelerated two huge problems. First, we made Too Big To Fail worse by making the companies even bigger and more dangerous through ... state-aided mergers. In the next crisis, letting losers lose will be even more unimaginable. Secondly, an already-serious economic inequality issue became formalized. The people responsible for the crisis weren’t just saved, but made beneficiaries of another decade of massive unearned profits.
The combined wealth of the world’s millionaires and billionaires has hit $70.2 trillion, reaching a new record for collective wealth among the world’s richest, Capgemini revealed on Tuesday in its annual World Wealth Report. The research firm said that it was sixth-straight year of high-net-worth individuals adding more cash to their coffers. The collective wealth was more than double the $32.8 trillion in wealth the world’s richest people had in 2008. The study defines a high-net-worth individual as someone who has assets of $1 million or more. That sum needs to be available to invest and cannot include a primary residence and collectibles, among other products. The U.S. has the most wealthy people in the world with 5,285 individuals hitting the mark of a high-net-worth individual. Japan and Germany landed in second and third place with 3,162 and 1,365 wealthy people, respectively. In its evaluation of the world’s wealthiest people, Capgemini analyzed how their wealth is dispersed among asset classes. It found that 30.9% of their wealth is kept in equities and 27.2% in cash and cash equivalents. Another 16.8% of their wealth resides in real estate. Additionally, Capgemini found that high-net-worth individuals are investing in cryptocurrency more than ever. More than 71% of younger high-net-worth individuals place a high importance on getting cryptocurrency information from their wealth managers, compared to 13% of those aged 60 and over.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The first comprehensive study of the massive pay gap between the US executive suite and average workers has found that the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio has now reached 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. The study, titled "Rewarding Or Hoarding?," was published [by] US congressman Keith Ellison. Just the summary makes for sober reading. In 188 of the 225 companies in the report’s database, a single chief executive’s pay could be used to pay more than 100 workers; the average worker at 219 of the 225 companies studied would need to work at least 45 years to earn what their CEO makes in one. “Now we know why CEOs didn’t want this data released,” says Ellison, who championed the implementation of the pay ratio disclosure rule as it was written into the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill of 2010. “I knew inequality was a great problem in our society but I didn’t understand quite how extreme it was.” The requirements, long resisted by some of the largest US companies, simply tells companies to identify a median worker and then calculate how much the CEO makes in comparison to that person. According to a recent Bloomberg analysis of 22 major world economies, the average CEO-worker pay gap in the US far outpaces that of other industrialized nations. The average US CEO makes more than four times his or her counterpart in the other countries analyzed. Ellison said the data remains imperfect, as companies are still able to exclude contracted workers from their reporting.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
The cumulative net worth of senators and House members jumped by one-fifth in the two years before the start of this Congress, outperforming the typical American’s improved fortunes as well as the solid performance of investment markets during that time. The total wealth of all current members was at least $2.43 billion when the 115th Congress began, 20 percent more than the collective riches of the previous Congress, a significant gain during a period when both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose slightly less than 10 percent. Beyond that grand total, the median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more, half less) of today’s senators and House members was $511,000 at the start of this Congress, an upward push of 16 percent over just two years – and quintuple the median net worth of an American household, which the Federal Reserve pegged at $97,300 in 2016. The financial disparity between those who try to govern and those who are governed is almost certainly even greater than that. Members of Congress are not required to make public the value of their residences and their contents, which are the principal assets of most Americans. Nor are they required to reveal their other assets and debts to the penny, or even close – instead using 11 broad categories of value ... that do a comprehensive job of obscuring what each member is precisely worth.
Note: The above article fails to mention that laws against insider trading do not apply to members of Congress. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.
More than $8 of every $10 of wealth created last year went to the richest 1%. That's according to a new report from Oxfam International, which estimates that the bottom 50% of the world's population saw no increase in wealth. Oxfam says the trend shows that the global economy is skewed in favor of the rich, rewarding wealth instead of work. "The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. The head of the advocacy group argued that the people who "make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food" are being exploited in order to enrich corporations and the super wealthy. The study, released ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, was produced using data from Credit Suisse's (CS) Global Wealth Databook. Oxfam said Monday that it is time for the global elite to stop talking about inequality and start changing their ways. "It's hard to find a political or business leader who doesn't say they are worried about inequality. It's even harder to find one who is doing something about it," said Byanyima. Oxfam said that governments should focus on policies that would lead to fairer distribution of wealth and stronger workers' rights.
The global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report. The world now has 2,043 billionaires. The group of mostly men saw its wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam. According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion. “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.” Oxfam published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrive in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Noting that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, the charity said most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter. Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns, while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.
The world’s richest individuals increased their wealth by a weighty $1 trillion, or about Ł750bn, in 2017. Most of us here in the UK battled stagnant wages [and] rising shop prices. In fact, the figures are quite startling. Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, which measures the wealth of the world’s top 500 people, shows that the richest of the rich controlled a total of $5.3 trillion in 2017, up from an already staggering $4.4 trillion at the same point in 2016. For context, the United States of America - the world’s largest economy - has a gross domestic product of somewhere around $19 trillion. So all in all, not a bad year to be a billionaire. But what does it mean for the rest of us? Back in 2016 ... a group of academics from such esteemed institutions as the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and Cornell University found that as the rich get richer the rest of us get grumpier. The findings were quite clear: in societies where the richest control the majority of the country’s income, the population as a whole is more likely to report feeling “stressed”, “worried” or “angry”. As the rich get richer, they are responsible for pricing certain goods and services out of the reach of the rest of the population – think top schools, the best hospitals and property in particularly desirable locations. And then there’s also a crucial psychological factor that may play a part: seeing the most prosperous becoming even more affluent might make you feel like your chances of moving up the ladder are fluttering away.
Today’s inaugural World Inequality Report shows that income inequality has increased in nearly every country around the world since 1980 – but at very different speeds. Since , the gap between the richest and the rest has surged in the US, while in western Europe it has increased only moderately. In both regions, the top 1% of adults earned about 10% of national income in 1980. Today that cohort’s share has risen modestly to 12% in western Europe, but dramatically to 20% of all income in the US. The good times have rolled especially fast for those at the very top in the US, with annual income booming by 205% since 1980 for the top 1%. But this boomtime at the very top has not benefited the rest of the American population in any measurable way. For the 117 million American adults in the bottom 50%, income growth has been nonexistent for a generation. In western Europe, by contrast, incomes of the bottom half have matched overall economic growth. What explains this dramatic divergence? The US has experienced a perfect storm of radical policy changes. The tax system, which used to be progressive, has become much less so over time. The federal minimum wage has collapsed, unions have been weakened and access to higher education has become increasingly unequal. At the same time, deregulation in the finance industry and overly protective patent laws have contributed to booms on Wall Street and in the healthcare sector, which now makes up 20% of national income.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, and veteran financier Warren Buffett now have a combined wealth of $248.5bn (Ł190bn) which is more than the net worth of the 160 million poorest US citizens, the Institute for Policy Studies think tank said. In its report, the Billionaire Bonanza, IPS found that America’s top 25 wealthiest people now hold [more than] $1 trillion in wealth. “Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64 per cent of the US population,” the report said. The study found that the median American family has a net worth of $80,000 ... while one in five US households have zero or negative net worth, meaning that their debts are equal to or greater than the worth of their cash and possessions. The figure is higher for people of colour - “underwater households” make up over 30 per cent of black households, and 27 per cent of Latino households. Last month, Forbes reported that it was another record year for the wealthiest people in the world’s richest nation. The minimum net worth required to make into the top 400 list is now a record $2bn, up almost a fifth from $1.7bn just twelve months ago.
Note: Explore also a CNN article titled "America's wealth gap is bigger than ever." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Environmental pollution - from filthy air to contaminated water - is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. One out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 - about 9 million - could be attributed to disease from toxic exposure, according to a major study ... in The Lancet medical journal. The financial cost from pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is equally massive, the report says, costing some $4.6 trillion in annual losses - or about 6.2 percent of the global economy. The report marks the first attempt to pull together data on disease and death caused by all forms of pollution combined. "Pollution is a massive problem that people aren't seeing because they're looking at scattered bits of it," [lead study author Philip] Landrigan said. Experts say the 9 million premature deaths the study found was just a partial estimate, and the number of people killed by pollution is undoubtedly higher. And there are still plenty of potential toxins still being ignored, with less than half of the 5,000 new chemicals widely dispersed throughout the environment since 1950 having been tested for safety or toxicity. The vast majority of pollution-related deaths ... occur in low- or middle-income developing countries, where policy makers are chiefly concerned with developing their economies. In wealthier countries where overall pollution is not as rampant, it is still the poorest communities that are more often exposed, the report says.
Among politicians, college administrators, educators, parents and students, college affordability seems to be seen as a purely financial issue. The roots of the current student debt crisis are neither economic nor financial in origin, but predominantly social. In 2012, more than 44 million Americans were still paying off student loans. And the average graduate in 2016 left college with more than $37,000 in student loan debt. Student loan debt has become the second-largest type of personal debt among Americans. From 1995 to 2015, tuition and fees at 310 national universities ... rose considerably, increasing by nearly 180 percent at private schools and more than 225 percent at public schools. During the 19th century, college education in the United States was offered largely for free. College education was considered a public good. Students who received such an education would put it to use in the betterment of society. The perception of higher education changed dramatically [as] private colleges began to attract more students from upper-class families. In 1927, John D. Rockefeller began campaigning for charging students the full cost it took to educate them. Further, he suggested that students could shoulder such costs through student loans. Tuition - and student loans - thus became commonly accepted aspects of the economics of higher education. If the United States is looking for alternatives to what some would call a failing funding model for college affordability, the solution may lie in looking further back than the current system.
Note: According to former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the sharply increasing cost of a college education serves to redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Tax records are invaluable for the study of economic inequality. Graphs published on the World Wealth and Income Database, for example, show just how ... this information can inform the public debate. The top 1% income share is now closely scrutinised by journalists and policymakers. But if the rich dodge taxes more than others, tax records will underestimate inequality. The key data source used in rich countries to study tax evasion is random tax audits – but these audits do not capture tax evasion by the very wealthy. In our recent study, however, we exploited a massive trove of data leaked from HSBC Switzerland, the so-called HSBC files, to fill this gap. We also made use of the Panama Papers, which last year revealed the identity of the shareholders of shell companies created by the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. Just as with HSBC, this leak is valuable as it can be seen as a random event and involves a prominent provider of offshore financial services. We combined random audits with these new sources of information to shed light on who really evades taxes. The higher one moves up the wealth distribution, the higher the probability of hiding assets. So what are the consequences for inequality? At the very top of the pyramid, it is much greater than previously estimated. In Norway, where the available wealth data is particularly detailed, the super-wealthy appear to be 30% wealthier than previously though. The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% increases from 8% to 10%.
Residents in North Carolina are fighting back against one of the state's most prominent industries: hog farming. But the legislation may not be on their side - a group of lawmakers in the state passed House Bill 467 last week, legislation that limits how much residents can collect in damages from hog farms. Hog farms in North Carolina dispose of pig feces and urine by spraying it, untreated, into the air where residents live. In response, nearly 500 of those residents ... from eastern North Carolina, brought a class action suit against Murphy-Brown, the state's largest producer of hogs. The lawsuit has now made its way to federal court. Residents have said the process of waste disposal has caused health problems. Much of the waste disposal affects low-income residents and black communities. "It can, I think, very correctly be called environmental racism or environmental injustice that people of color, low-income people bear the brunt of these practices," [University of North Carolina professor] Steve Wing ... said. "I shut my hog operation down, and I got out of it. And I ... just couldn't do another person that way, to make them smell that," Don Webb, a former pig factory farm owner, told Democracy Now. "You get stories like, 'I can't hang my clothes out.' Feces and urine odor comes by and attaches itself to your clothes." HB 467 ... was passed by both houses of the North Carolina Legislature. The bill would prevent people from recovering damages like those for healthcare bills and pain and suffering.
Note: In 2014, video footage of toxic cesspools around North Carolina farms exposed shockingly lax agricultural waste disposal standards. In response, the North Carolina Legislature passed a law to prevent whistle-blowers from exposing corporate wrongdoing. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Iceland will be the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality. The government said it will introduce legislation to parliament this month, requiring all employers with more than 25 staff to obtain certification to prove they give equal pay for work of equal value. While other countries, and the U.S. state of Minnesota, have equal-salary certificate policies, Iceland is thought to be the first to make it mandatory for both private and public firms. The North Atlantic island nation, which has a population of about 330,000, wants to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022. Equality and Social Affairs Minister Thorsteinn Viglundsson said "the time is right to do something radical about this issue. Equal rights are human rights. We need to make sure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity in the workplace. It is our responsibility to take every measure to achieve that." Iceland has been ranked the best country in the world for gender equality by the World Economic Forum, but Icelandic women still earn, on average, 14 to 18 percent less than men. In October thousands of Icelandic women left work at 2:38 p.m. and demonstrated outside parliament to protest the gender pay gap. Women's rights groups calculate that after that time each day, women are working for free. The new legislation is expected to be approved by Iceland's parliament. The government hopes to implement it by 2020.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.