Income Inequality

Understanding the Union Vote at VW in Tennessee

As you probably know, the United Auto Workers (UAW) lost a union election at a Chattanooga Volkswagen plant last month by a vote of 712 to 646 (53% to 47%). My heart goes out to the workers and UAW leaders who put heart and soul into achieving a different result.

I was taken aback by the vote, I have to admit. So it has taken me a couple of weeks to process it.

Interesting Report on the Middle Class in Philadelphia

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Susan Warner of The Pew Charitable Trusts has a very interesting study out titled Philadelphia’s Changing Middle Class. The Philadelphia Inquirer has a quick summary of the findings here.

The study is impressive work, and I would encourage our Philadelphia readers to put it on their list of weekend long reads. As always, context matters. While there is much that is good in this study, how best to link it into the city's economic and social policy is going to be a matter of intense debate. So take a moment now to read up on what this study does and doesn’t say.

The study brought to mind Michael Smerconish's recent Inquirer column that cites another study identifying marriage as a factor in growing income inequality — specifically, the marriage of highly educated people to other highly educated people (resulting in higher incomes). The study is a great example of what Larry Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) calls "misdirection" (more on that later). The essential problem is that it identifies demographic trends, rather than changes in the distribution of income, as the reason we have rising income inequality.

From California to the New York Island, Top Incomes Are on the Rise

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Today the Economic Analysis Research Network released The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State by Estelle Sommeiller of France and yours truly. With apologies to the great Woody Guthrie, you can summarize the report's findings this way:

Towards a Moral Economy: Is NOW the time?

The Moral March: Photo from ThinkProgress.orgThe Philadelphia Daily News' Will Bunch had an uplifting column this past Sunday on Saturday's "Moral March" in Raleigh, N.C. It was the South's largest protest march since Dr. Martin Luther King and the Selma-to-Montgomery march in 1965.

Camelot: Where King Arthur...I Mean Queen Dianne...Earns a Cool £2.1 Million

Pennsylvania Senate hearings on lottery expansion earlier this week focused on increasing state revenue for seniors' programs by expanding lottery games under public management (to include keno). This was a welcome shift from last year's proposed privatization of the lottery with the Camelot Group, a British company, and a temporary reprieve from more recent rumors about privatizing lottery management.

More Economy Boosting Jobs, Less Austerity

How do we get our economy growing more robustly again? It's not through austerity — cutting government spending and investment when private consumption and investment are already lagging — as Paul Krugman reminds us again today.

It is through "economy boosting jobs" — raising wages so that working families can buy what they need and help their communities thrive. Here's a simple video (also below) explaining this point, circulated to us from the good folks at Topos.

A $15-Per-Hour Fast-Food Wage Gets the Time of Day

The second in an occasional series on reducing inequality

In the first post in this series, I suggested that American elite opinion might actually be swinging towards the need to take some long-overdue — and obvious — steps to reduce inequality, including raising area-wide wages in low-paid service industries through policy or by allowing workers to form area-wide labor unions.

Are Economic Elites Awaking to the Need to Do Something About Inequality?

The first in an occasional series on reducing inequality

Are American opinion leaders and policymakers finally ready for a serious effort to reduce economic inequality and rebuild opportunity in America?

In a series of blog posts, we will point to growing evidence that they might be, thanks to a powerful mix of unrelenting data on economic polarizations and worker campaigns demanding a change. Better late than never.

In this first entry, I want to set up the series with some context.

California Conservative Proposes $12 Per Hour Minimum Wage

Last week, The New York Times reported that Ron Unz, a conservative Silicon Valley millionaire and past Editor of The American Conservative, favors increasing California's minimum wage to $12 per hour.

The arguments he is making explain why a much higher minimum wage strengthens the economy and benefits taxpayers, and progressives should capitalize on his support to amplify these arguments in their own advocacy.

Just the Stories ... Debating the Commonwealth Foundation on Minimum Wage

"Just the Facts" is a catchphrase the Keystone Research Center and other progressive economic think tanks use to capture our commitment to grounding advocacy for progressive values and policies in solid data and research.

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