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One step up and two steps back

Sylvia Allegretto, labor economist, Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | October 2, 2014

With the release of the (mostly) triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) from the Federal Reserve, it is once again time to look at trends in wealth. The SCF is one of the best sources for data on net worth (assets minus liabilities) in the U.S. In this post I use the newly released 2013 … Continue reading »

What do average Americans think about inequality?

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | April 10, 2014

Now that economic inequality has become a focus of attention – mentions of “income inequality” in the New York Times went up five-fold in the 2010s compared to the 2000s, 200-fold compared to the 1990s – we know a few things about it clearly. For example: American inequality is unusually great among western societies; it has been … Continue reading »

Wealth and motivations for saving

Carola Conces Binder, Ph.D. candidate, economics | March 24, 2013

In a recent column in the Atlantic called “Building the Wealth of the Poor and Middle Class,” Noah Smith suggests a few ways to improve the unequal distribution of wealth in America. He notes that “one obvious thing we could do to make wealth more equal is – surprise! -redistribution…Giving the poor and middle-class more income will … Continue reading »

The wrecking ball

Sylvia Allegretto, labor economist, Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | July 16, 2012

The destruction caused by the bursting of the housing bubble and the subsequent Great Recession continues to wreck havoc on our economy, communities, families and workers. Last month, the Federal Reserve released 2010 data from its Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). This triennial survey, one of the best sources on net worth (assets minus liabilities) … Continue reading »

The few, the proud, the very rich

Sylvia Allegretto, labor economist, Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics | December 5, 2011

Much of the current political and popular discourse has focused on inequalities that exist in the U.S. In particular the Occupy movement has brought the huge disparities in wealth to the forefront. There are a few questions floating around about wealth. First, how skewed is the distribution? Second, it is true that the rich have … Continue reading »

The Republican shakedown

Robert Reich, professor of public policy | February 25, 2011

You can’t fight something with nothing. But as long as Democrats refuse to talk about the almost unprecedented buildup of income, wealth, and power at the top — and the refusal of the super-rich to pay their fair share of the nation’s bills — Republicans will convince people it’s all about government and unions. Republicans … Continue reading »

Be a Commie — Vote for Whitman!

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | May 7, 2010

It used to bother me to see immensely wealthy people use their money to bankroll their political ambition. But lately I have seen the light. It’s true, of course: there are problems when the hyper-rich win elections by their own money. The very rich, as Fitzgerald and Hemingway agreed, are different from you and me … Continue reading »