Income Inequality

Death of an Adjunct

Appearing last week on a radio program in Pittsburgh with labor historian Charles McCollester, I heard for the first time the story of Margaret Mary Vojtko, a 25-year adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University who died recently in poverty at the age of 83.

High Road Restaurant Owners Speak Out for Higher Minimum Wage

A few weeks ago, we responded to criticism about the feasibility of a $15-per-hour wage for fast food workers. In that post, we highlighted two "high road" employers, one a fast-food chain, as living examples of the feasibility — and profitability — of paying workers better.

Latest Income Numbers in Historical Perspective

The Gilded AgeColin Gordon of the Iowa Policy Project has taken recently-released 2012 figures on the incomes of the top 1% and the rest of us and put the new information in historical perspective. Using national figures, he makes three points.

A Recovery for Some But Not All

As Mark Price noted yesterday, there has been a shocking rise in income inequality since 2009.

Just How Much Will a Fast Food Wage Increase Cost?

Big MacIn The State of Working Pennsylvania 2013, we said that substantially raising the wages of fast food workers — to roughly $15 per hour — could put Pennsylvania and the nation back on the path to shared prosperity. Capitolwire suggested in an August 29 Under the Dome brief (subscription required) that people would end up paying “a lot more” for their Big Macs and eating out at other restaurants. Yes, it would cost a bit more initially but not nearly as much as Capitolwire suggested. And it could lower costs in the long run. Let me explain.

How Much Should You Be Making?

The Economic Policy Institute took the Labor Day weekend to remind us that American workers should be paid more than they are.

EPI has a handy online tool — based on their project inequality.is — that shows how much you would be making if wages had kept pace with productivity, a key indicator of an economy working for all.

Elise Gould explains at the EPI blog, Working Economics:

I Have a Dream ... That President Obama Will Say "The President Wants You to Join a Union"

President Obama will speak from the Lincoln Memorial at 3 p.m. today, the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Can the Right Afford to Acknowledge Low Upward Mobility in the U.S.?

Michael Laracy of the Annie E. Casey Foundation emailed around an opinion piece by Fareed Zakaria on the boffo new study on upward mobility in the United States. The Zakaria piece appeared in the Amazon, I mean Bezos, I mean Washington Post.

Third and State This Week: Nutrition Assistance Cuts, Fast Food Worker Strikes, Modest State Revenue Growth & More

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a pending cut and other threats to federal nutrition assistance, what the one-day strikes by fast food workers tell us about the future of the middle class, a post-recession pay cut for the nation's low-wage workers, state revenue growth in the year ahead, and the role of public safety net programs in keeping people out of poverty.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On food insecurity, Chris Lilienthal blogged about a report on the significant impact that a pending cut in nutrition assistance will have on low-income families across Pennsylvania and the nation. He also shared a New York Times report on a new study finding that additional cuts proposed by the U.S. House would cost more than 5 million Americans needed food assistance.
  • On unions and the economy, Stephen Herzenberg wrote that the fast food workers engaging in one-day strikes across the country may be on the verge of cracking the code to the next U.S. middle class.
  • On income inequality, intern Ellis Wazeter blogged about a recent study showing that low-wage American workers have taken a post-recession hit to their paychecks.
  • On state taxes, Michael Wood shared a chart showing that General Fund revenue collections are projected to grow very little in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  • And on poverty, Chris Lilienthal passed on a blog post by Arloc Sherman of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlighting just how much public safety net programs have helped keep people out of poverty in the United States.

IN OTHER NEWS:

'This Is What the Middle Class Looks Like' ... Fast Food One-day Strikes and the Next Upsurge in Unionism

"This is what democracy looks like." Even though this chant originated with the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO), which haven't yet led to major reforms, the phrase nonetheless captures the idea of a social movement that has crystallized its demands and has a better chance to succeed because of it. Other examples include the right to vote in the civil rights movement, or the fight to legalize gay marriage, a simple modern demand that culminates a fight for equality in all its dimensions.

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