Income Inequality News StoriesExcerpts of Key Income Inequality News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of income inequality news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Not long ago I was asked to speak to a religious congregation about widening inequality. Shortly before I began, the head of the congregation asked that I not advocate raising taxes on the wealthy. I had a similar exchange last year with the president of a small college who had invited me to give a lecture that his board of trustees would be attending. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t criticize Wall Street,” he said. It seems to be happening all over. A nonprofit group devoted to voting rights decides it won’t launch a campaign against big money in politics for fear of alienating wealthy donors. A Washington think tank releases a study on inequality that fails to mention the role big corporations and Wall Street have played ... presumably because the think tank doesn’t want to antagonize its corporate and Wall Street donors. A major university shapes research and courses around economic topics of interest to its biggest donors, notably avoiding any mention of the increasing power of large corporations and Wall Street on the economy. It’s bad enough that big money is buying off politicians. It’s also buying off nonprofits that used to be sources of investigation, information and social change, from criticizing big money. Our democracy is directly threatened when the rich buy off politicians. But no less dangerous is the quieter and more insidious buy-off of institutions democracy depends on to research, investigate, expose and mobilize action against what is occurring.
Note: The above article was written by former U.S. Secretary of Labor and UC Berkeley professor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Many believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy. In reality, a large and growing share of the nation’s poor work full time — sometimes 60 or more hours a week — yet still don’t earn enough to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. It’s also commonly believed ... that the rich deserve their wealth because they work harder than others. In reality ... their wealth has been handed to them. The rise of these two groups — the working poor and non-working rich — is relatively new. Why are these two groups growing? The ranks of the working poor are growing because wages at the bottom have dropped, adjusted for inflation. The real value of the federal minimum wage is lower today than it was a quarter century ago. In addition, most recipients of public assistance must now work in order to qualify. The new work requirements haven’t reduced the number or percentage of Americans in poverty. They’ve just moved poor people from being unemployed and impoverished to being employed and impoverished. At the same time, the ranks of the non-working rich have been swelling. A study by the Boston College Center on Wealth and Philanthropy projects a total of $59 trillion passed down to heirs between 2007 and 2061. This is ... about to become the major source of income for a new American aristocracy. The tax code encourages all this by favoring unearned income over earned income.
Note: The above article was written by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
David Korten began his professional life as a professor at the Harvard Business School on a mission to lift struggling people in Third World nations out of poverty by sharing the secrets of U.S. business success. Yet, after a couple of decades in which he applied his organizational development strategies in places as far-flung as Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and the Philippines, Korten underwent a change of heart. In 1995, he wrote the bestseller When Corporations Rule the World, followed by a series of books that helped birth the movement known as the New Economy, a call to replace transnational corporate domination with local economies, control, ownership, and self-reliance. This month, Korten, who is also the co-founder and board chair of YES!, publishes a new book challenging readers to rethink their relationship with Earth—indeed, with all creation, from the smallest quantum particle to the whole of the universe. The world needs “a new story,” he says. Buying into the “Sacred Money and Markets” story that money is wealth and the key to happiness locks us into indentured servitude to corporate rule. It’s the traditional development model, or transnational capitalism, that damages Earth as a living community, including not just humans but all life forms. Control of money is the ultimate mechanism of social control in a society in which most every person depends on money for the basic means of living. The only legitimate purpose of the economy is to serve life, is to serve us as living beings making our living in co-productive partnership with living Earth.
Note: David Korten's new book is titled: Change the Story, Change the Future. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The chairman of the venerable Gallup research and polling firm says the official U.S. unemployment rate is really an underestimation and a “big lie" perpetuated by the White House, Wall Street and the media. What CEO and Chairman Jim Clifton revealed in his blog Tuesday about how the Labor Department arrives at the monthly unemployment rate is no secret -- including that Americans who have quit looking for work after four weeks are not included in the survey. The department's current rate of 5.6 percent unemployment is the lowest since June 2008, with President Obama using his State of the Union address and campaign-style stops across the country to tout an economic recovery. “There's no other way to say this,” Clifton says. “The official unemployment rate … amounts to a big lie.” His arguments are similar to those made by Washington Republicans after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the rate each month during the height of the recession. However, Gallup is an 80-year-old, nonpartisan firm. Clifton suggests the biggest misconception about the official rate is that it doesn’t denote “good” full-time jobs. “When the media, talking heads, the White House and Wall Street start reporting the truth -- the percent of Americans in good jobs; jobs that are full time and real -- then we will quit wondering why Americans aren't ‘feeling’ something that doesn't remotely reflect the reality in their lives. And we will also quit wondering what hollowed out the middle class,” he said.
Note: Read the article by Gallup CEO Jim Clifton showing that the US official unemployment rate of 5.6% is very misleading. Gallup research finds 44% of US citizens available to work are not getting enough work. Fox News was the only media source to report on this story without attacking Clifton for his comments.
Jim Clifton, longtime CEO of Gallup ... penned an op-ed on the company website referring to the “big lie” of the official Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly unemployment rate. The 5.7% rate for January he says is woefully inadequate and does not take into account part-time workers, those earning $20 a week, those underemployed, and the hundreds of thousands of others who have simply given up looking for work. The real unemployment is much larger. In all of this, Clifton is absolutely right. The published rate is not only woefully inadequate, it is misleading and dishonest. In a follow up interview on CNBC ... he notes that he fears that telling the truth will endanger his life. So he backed off the “big lie” headline by telling CNBC: “I think that the number that comes out of BLS [Bureau of Labor Statistics] and the Department of Labor is very, very accurate. I need to make that very, very clear so that I don’t suddenly disappear. I need to make it home tonight.”
Note: Read the article by Gallup CEO Jim Clifton showing that the US official unemployment rate of 5.6% is very misleading. Gallup research finds 44% of US citizens available to work are not getting enough work. Then watch the video where he admits he fears for his life for reporting on this. Notably, the Forbes article summarized above confirms that Clifton's statements are accurate, but criticizes him for revealing that mass media is manipulated by the financial and political elite.
The middle class can't be saved unless Wall Street is tamed. Yet most presidential aspirants don't want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money. Six years ago ... the financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor, consuming the savings of millions of average Americans and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance and some 1 million to lose their homes. A repeat performance is not unlikely. Wall Street's biggest banks are much larger now than they were then. Five of them hold about 45 percent of America's banking assets. In 2000, they held 25 percent. Meanwhile, the Street's lobbyists have gotten Congress to repeal a provision of Dodd-Frank curbing excessive speculation by the big banks. The language was drafted by Citigroup and personally pushed by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. It's nice that presidential aspirants are talking about rebuilding America's middle class. But to be credible, the candidates have to [propose] to limit the size of the biggest Wall Street banks, to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act (which used to separate investment banking from commercial banking), to define insider trading the way most other countries do (using information any reasonable person would know is unavailable to most investors), and to close the revolving door between the Street and the U.S. Treasury. It also means not depending on the Street to finance their campaigns.
The billionaires and corporate oligarchs meeting in Davos this week are getting worried about inequality. The architects of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see the dangers ... of the widest global economic gulf in human history. The scale of the crisis has been laid out for them by the charity Oxfam. On current trends, the richest 1% will have pocketed more than the other 99% put together next year. The 0.1% have been doing even better, quadrupling their share of US income since the 1980s. In most of the world, labour’s share of national income has fallen continuously and wages have stagnated under this regime of privatisation, deregulation and low taxes on the rich. At the same time finance has sucked wealth from the public realm into the hands of a small minority, even as it has laid waste the rest of the economy. Now the evidence has piled up that not only is such appropriation of wealth a moral and social outrage, but it is fuelling social and climate conflict, wars, mass migration and political corruption, stunting health and life chances, increasing poverty, and widening gender and ethnic divides. Escalating inequality has also been a crucial factor in the economic crisis of the past seven years, squeezing demand and fuelling the credit boom. The thinking person’s Davos oligarch realises that allowing things to carry on as they are is dangerous. What they won’t accept is any change in the balance of social power.
Note: Oxfam's complete report "identifies the two powerful driving forces that have led to the rapid rise in inequality" as "market fundamentalism and the capture of politics by elites." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and secret societies which manipulate global politics.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting [in Davos, Switzerland is] a heady power gathering that mixes business, politics and Champagne in the Swiss Alps. It is an event that draws a wide range of [chief executives, government leaders and academics], ostensibly to contemplate how to solve the world’s problems. An invitation to the meeting is supposed to be considered an exclusive honor. But for corporate executives, the cost of being a Davos Man, or, yes, a Davos Woman, even for just a couple of days, does not come cheap. Just to have the opportunity to be invited to Davos, you must be invited to be a member of the World Economic Forum. There are several levels of membership: the basic level, which will get you one invitation to Davos, costs 50,000 Swiss francs, or about $52,000. The ticket itself is another 18,000 Swiss francs ($19,000), plus tax, bringing the total cost of membership and entrance fee to $71,000. But that fee just gets you in the door. To participate in private sessions among your industry’s peers, you need to step up to the “Industry Associate” level. That costs $137,000, plus the price of the ticket, bringing the total to about $156,000.
Note: After attending this event, author David Rothkopf quoted AOL's founder as saying,"You always feel like ... the real Davos is happening in secret somewhere." Might this suggest that Davos is a breeding ground for the secret plots of the global elite? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles on secret societies which manipulate global politics.
The richest 1 percent are likely to control more than half of the globeâ€™s total wealth by next year, the charity Oxfam reported in a study released on Monday. The warning about deepening global inequality comes just as the worldâ€™s business elite prepare to meet this week at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The 80 wealthiest people in the world altogether own $1.9 trillion, the report found, nearly the same amount shared by the 3.5 billion people who occupy the bottom half of the worldâ€™s income scale. And the richest 1 percent of the population, who number in the millions, control nearly half of the worldâ€™s total wealth, a share that is also increasing. The type of inequality that currently characterizes the worldâ€™s economies is unlike anything seen in recent years, the report explained. â€śBetween 2002 and 2010 the total wealth of the poorest half of the world in current U.S. dollars had been increasing more or less at the same rate as that of billionaires,â€ť it said. â€śHowever since 2010, it has been decreasing over that time.â€ť Investors with interests in finance, insurance and health saw the biggest windfalls, Oxfam said. Using data from Forbes magazineâ€™s list of billionaires, it said those listed as having interests in the pharmaceutical and health care industries saw their net worth jump by 47 percent. The charity credited those individualsâ€™ rapidly growing fortunes in part to multimillion-dollar lobbying campaigns to protect and enhance their interests.
Note: A single ticket to the World Economic Forum event in Davos costs a small fortune. Will the global elites that attend this event pay attention to Oxfam's latest paper, and make it a priority to reduce income inequality?
The [richest] 1% of the worldâ€™s population will own more global wealth than the 99% [by next year]. Oxfam executive director, Winnie Byanyima, is arguing that this increasing concentration of wealth ... is â€śbad for growth and bad for governanceâ€ť. Whatâ€™s more, inequality is bad not just for the poor, but for the rich too. Thatâ€™s why we have the likes of the IMFâ€™s Christine Lagarde kicking off with warnings about rising inequality. Visceral inequality ... is still seen as somehow being [a] moral failure of the poor. This in turn sustains the idea that rich people deserve their incredible riches. Most wealth, though, is not earned: huge assets, often inherited, simply get bigger [for] deliberate and systemic reasons. Inequality is not inevitable, itâ€™s engineered. Many mainstream economists do not question the degree of this engineering. Neoliberalism [has been] a stage of capitalism in which the financial markets were deregulated, public services privatised, welfare systems run down, laws to protect working people dismantled, and unions cast as the enemy. Oxfamâ€™s suggestions at Davos are attempts to claw back some basic rights. But isnâ€™t it rather incredible that a charity has to do this?
Note: Oxfam's complete report "identifies the two powerful driving forces that have led to the rapid rise in inequality" as "market fundamentalism and the capture of politics by elites." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Nicholas and Jill Woodman ... will receive a huge tax deduction for their [charitable] donation of 5.8 million shares of company stock to a donor-advised fund. But there’s no guarantee that one dollar of their October donation will ever be spent [on charity]. Donors gets an immediate, one-time tax break by depositing their money or assets in a donor-advised fund. They can advise the institution holding their money where and when to spend it on their timetable. Boston College Law School Professor Ray Madoff points out, “It is like money-laundering." There was $54 billion under management in donor-advised funds in 2013. Top financial houses like Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard have fully embraced donor-advised funds. Fidelity Charitable, with $13.2 billion worth of assets under management, is now the nation’s second-largest charity. Even though organizations like Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable and Vanguard Charitable were founded by their financial house namesakes, they are separate 501(c)3 charities. But while Fidelity Charitable is independent from the financial institution, roughly two-thirds of the money in the charitable arm is invested in Fidelity mutual funds. Madoff said that because investment advisers can charge a fee for managing the money in these accounts, they have a natural incentive to keep the money in these accounts growing — and not leaving.
In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on [climate change] to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions. The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris. The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion. In March ... the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners. In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US. Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion. “The pope should back off,” he said.
Consider the new spending bill Congress and the president agreed to a few weeks ago. Under the $1.1 trillion measure, government spending doesn't rise as a percent of the total economy. If the economy grows as expected, government spending will actually shrink over the next year. The problem with the legislation is who gets the goodies and who's stuck with the tab. Only about 12 percent of federal spending goes to individuals and families. An increasing portion goes to corporate welfare. In addition to the provisions in the recent spending bill that reward Wall Street, health insurers, the travel industry, food companies and defense contractors, other corporate goodies have long been baked into the federal budget. Big agribusiness gets price supports. Hedge-fund and private-equity managers get their own special "carried-interest" tax loophole. The oil and gas industry gets its special tax subsidies. Big Pharma gets a particularly big benefit: a prohibition on government using its vast bargaining power under Medicare and Medicaid to negotiate low drug prices. The new spending legislation, just enacted, makes it easier for wealthy individuals to write big checks to political parties. Much of government is no longer working for the vast majority it's intended to serve. Unless or until we can reverse the vicious cycle of big money getting political favors that makes big money even bigger, we can't get the government we want and deserve.
Some of the highest employment rates in the advanced world are in places with the highest taxes and most generous welfare systems, namely Scandinavian countries. The United States and many other nations with relatively low taxes and a smaller social safety net actually have substantially lower rates of employment. In Scandinavian countries, working parents have the option of heavily subsidized child care. Leave policies make it easy for parents to take off work. Heavily subsidized public transportation may make it easier for a person in a low-wage job to get to and from work. And free or inexpensive education may make it easier to get the training to move from the unemployment rolls to a job. Wages for entry-level work are much higher in the Nordic countries than in the United States, reflecting a higher minimum wage, stronger labor unions and cultural norms that lead to higher pay. Perhaps more Americans would enter the labor force if even basic jobs paid [adequate wages], regardless of whether the United States provided better child care and other services. There is a lesson from Scandinavia useful in its simplicity: If you make it easier for people to work, it may be the case that more will.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A report released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that the wealth gap between the country’s top 20 percent of earners and the rest of America had stretched to its widest point in at least three decades. Last year, the median net worth of upper-income families reached $639,400, nearly seven times as much of those in the middle, and nearly 70 times the level of those at the bottom. There has been growing attention to the issue of income inequality. But while income and wealth are related ... the wealth gap zeros in on a different aspect of financial well-being: how much money and other assets you have accumulated over time. “The Great Recession destroyed a significant amount of middle-income and lower-income families’ wealth, and the economic ‘recovery’ has yet to be felt for them,” the report concluded. The median household net worth last year for those in the middle was $96,500, only slightly above the $94,300 mark it hit in 1983 (after being adjusted for inflation). A poor household actually had a higher median net worth 30 years ago ($11,400 in 1983) than it counted last year ($9,300). Compare those results with the top fifth of income earners. In 1983, when the Fed began collecting the data, that group had a median wealth of $318,000; in 2013 it owned more than twice that.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
Congressional liberals rebelled Wednesday against a must-pass spending bill that would ... roll back critical limits on Wall Street and sharply increase the influence of wealthy campaign donors. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a popular figure on the left, led the insurrection with a speech on the Senate floor, calling the $1.01 trillion spending bill “the worst of government for the rich and powerful.” Meanwhile, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said, “I don’t think the vast majority of Democrats or even Republicans are going to look too kindly on a Congress that’s ready to go back and start doing the bidding of Wall Street interests again.” On the Senate floor, Warren said the changes in the spending bill “would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.” She added: “These are the same banks that nearly broke the economy in 2008 and destroyed millions of jobs.” Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who opposed the 2013 bill, said he would vote against the new spending measure in its current form. The change to Dodd-Frank coupled with the campaign finance provision makes for a toxic blend, he said. Van Hollen was one of the few Democrats willing to risk a government shutdown by blocking the bill. Pressed by reporters, even Warren would not make that commitment.
The end-of-year spending bill deal crafted by congressional leaders Tuesday would dramatically expand the amount of money that wealthy political donors could inject into the national parties, drastically undercutting the 2002 landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance overhaul. The language – inserted on page 1,599 of the 1,603-page bill – would allow ... a donor who gave the maximum $32,400 this year to the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee ... to donate another $291,600 on top of that to the party’s additional arms -- a total of $324,000, ten times the current limit. In a two-year election cycle, a couple could give $1,296,000 to a party's various accounts. "These provisions have never been considered by the House or Senate, and were never even publicly mentioned before today," said Fred Wertheimer, president of the advocacy group Democracy 21. Adam Smith, spokesman for the group Every Voice, said in a statement, “Very few people can write checks almost twice the size of the country’s median income, but that’s what this provision will allow. It gives the biggest donors another opportunity to influence politics and buys them more access to politicians.” Campaign finance experts were taken aback by the scope of the measure, rumors of which first surfaced Tuesday, hours before the deal was finalized.
According to new research by Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley and Gabriel Zucman of the London School of Economics, the richest one-hundredth of one percent of Americans now hold more than 11 percent of the nation's total wealth. That's a higher share than the top .01 percent held in 1929, before the Great Crash. We're talking about 16,000 people, each worth at least $110 million. This explosion of wealth at the top has been accompanied by an erosion of the wealth of the middle class and the poor. Some might think [that] if those at the top are winning big while the bottom 90 percent is losing, too bad. That's the way the game is played. But the top .01 percent have also been ... changing the game. Their political investments have paid off in the form of lower taxes on themselves and their businesses, subsidies for their corporations, government bailouts, federal prosecutions ... where executives don't go to jail, watered-down regulations, and non-enforcement of antitrust laws. Since the top .01 began investing big time in politics, corporate profits and the stock market have risen to record levels. That's enlarged the wealth of the richest .01 percent. But the bottom 90 percent ... rely on wages, which have been trending downward. Politicians don't seem particularly intent on reversing this trend. If you want to know what's happened to our democracy, follow the richest .01 percent. They'll lead you to the politicians who have been selling our democracy.
Note: For more along these lines, see these summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles.
The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam, the world’s rich are getting richer, leaving hundreds of millions of people facing a life “trapped in poverty” as global “inequality spirals out of control”. The report found that the number of billionaires in the world has more than doubled to 1,646 since the financial crisis of 2009, and Oxfam says is evidence that the benefits of a return to economic growth are “not being shared with the vast majority”. The influential report is supported by Bank of England chief economist Andrew Haldane and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, said: “Inequality is one of the defining problems of our age. In a world where hundreds of millions of people are living without access to clean drinking water and without enough food to feed their families, a small elite have more money than they could spend in several lifetimes. Earlier this month the OECD said global inequality was at its worst levels since 1820. Mr Haldane agreed, saying: “In highlighting the problem of inequality Oxfam not only speaks to the interests of the poorest people but also the wider collective interest: there is rising evidence that extreme inequality harms, durably and significantly, the stability of the financial system and growth in the economy. It slows development of the human, social and physical capital necessary for raising living standards and improving well-being.”
Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles.
Before 2002, parties could accept unlimited donations from individuals or groups (corporations, labor unions, etc.). The McCain-Feingold law, as it came to be known, banned soft-money contributions, and it also prohibited political groups that operate outside the regulated system and its donation limits from running “issue ads” that appear to help or hurt a candidate close to an election. In 2010, the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court effectively blew apart the McCain-Feingold restrictions on outside groups and their use of corporate and labor money in elections. That same year, a related ruling from a lower court made it easier for wealthy individuals to finance those groups. What followed has been the most unbridled spending in elections since before Watergate. In 2000, outside groups spent $52 million on campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. By 2012, that number had increased to $1 billion. The result was a massive power shift. With the advent of Citizens United, any players with the wherewithal, and there are surprisingly many of them, can start what are in essence their own political parties, built around pet causes or industries and backing politicians uniquely answerable to them. No longer do they have to buy into the system. Instead, they buy their own pieces of it outright. “Suddenly, we privatized politics,” says Trevor Potter, an election lawyer who helped draft the McCain-Feingold law.
Note: To understand the decisive role that money plays in elections politics, read this entire, revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing election process news articles from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.