Income inequality is killing the economy. Retailers, bankers and Democrats agree on that. Really.
It’s only Republicans who continue to insist that income inequality is great, so no one, least of all them, should make any effort to constrict the abyss between America’s struggling 99 percent and Americans who indulge themselves in $475,000 bottles of House of Creed Bespoke perfume.
Now that Wall Street and Main Street have endorsed Democratic economic principals to reduce inequality for the sake of the economy, voting Nov. 4 is easy. Vote Democrat. That’s the party both bankers and retailers say has the solution to economic revival.
Just heard Fed chair Janet Yellen give this great talk on inequality of wealth, income, and importantly, opportunity. I’ll have more to say later, but do give this a read.
Some points that jumped out to me:
–It’s fundamentally important that she gave this speech, as it was when President Obama gave a speech elevating inequality as a serious challenge. The Federal Reserve is of course focused by mandate on employment and inflation, but of course inequality of opportunity is linked to economic conditions. In fact, while I thought her speech was excellent, Chair Yellen could have hit harder on this point, as I note below.
–While many of her slides will be familiar to those who follow the issue, figure 10 (below) packs in a lot of information about this issue of inequality of opportunity. It shows the inequality of debt associated with higher education by wealth class. It’s unequal, of course, but has become considerably more so over time. We also see the stable and low debt burden of the top 5%.
The good news: total global wealth just hit a new record. The bad news: most of it is going to the richest of the rich.
According to a new Credit Suisse report, global wealth hit a record $263 trillion by the middle of this year, an 8.3 percent increase over last year. It’s the largest annual rise recorded since 2007, and more than doubles the $117 trillion in global wealth in the year 2000. It’s also the first time the world’s wealth has passed $250 trillion. Wealth is now 20 percent higher than the peak it reached before the 2008 financial crisis.
But few are enjoying the spoils. The bottom half of the world’s income earners owns less than one percent of total wealth. It takes just $3,650 to be counted among the richest half of the world’s population. Yet 3.3 billion people, or 70 percent of global citizens, have below $10,000.
Writer, Host, "The Breakdown;" Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future
As autumn descends on the nation’s capital, people are saying there’s a darkness on the edge of town. It’s born of the fear, pessimism and uncertainty that have become the Republican political brand. And if the polls are right, there’s every chance that its shadow will fall upon Capitol Hill and envelop both houses of Congress.
Here Comes the Night
This onrush of conservative gloom was featured prominently this week in the New York Times, in language so shadow-haunted it could’ve come straight from the pen of the 1980s-era Springsteen.
They're back. Like the fourth sequel to a bad horror movie, the Republican Right has once again chosen to embrace its long ignoble, hypocritical tradition of pandering to -- and stoking -- fear.
As the election nears, their ads are filled with images of ISIL terrorists, Ebola viruses, Secret Service breaches, and "porous" borders through which knife-wielding Muslim extremists are surely infiltrating every corner of our society.
It's not just disgusting. It's also hypocritical. The fact is that the Republicans have an abysmal record when it comes to defending the security of ordinary Americans.
Recently, tech companies like Facebook and Google dropped their support of the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.
ALEC is a group, supported and funded by big business, that champions right-wing legislation at the state and national levels. One executive described how ALEC carries out its mission. "They're just literally lying" about the realities of climate change, he said.