Income inequality is at the root of most of America’s major socioeconomic problems, truly the radioactive element that causes the body politic to decay.
"There is no equality of opportunity in the U.S., nor anything remotely approaching it. Children’s outcomes are closely correlated with the incomes of their parents, more so in fact than almost every other similarly developed country. Year-to-year economic mobility is also very uncommon.
Since vigorously celebrating equal opportunity that does not actually exist has not managed to soothe the masses, a new tactic has evolved: dismissing the whole inequality discussion as an unfortunate bout of envy.”
"Despite lawsuits, the unpaid internship has come to seem like an inevitable fact of life. Some entry-level jobs, we hear, are too glamorous to pay. We learn that most young people, while eager, just aren’t prepared for the workforce. We are led to believe that the economy is still too weak to hire them; businesses want to pay, but budgets simply have no room.
These three givens are actually myths, understandably embraced by employers, yet, more mysteriously, accepted as fact by the rest of us. So allow me to dispel them one by one.”
Phoebe Maltz Bovy, in The 3 big myths propping up unpaid internships
If you’re lucky enough to have a job, you probably work extremely hard. Thanks to the power of technology and successive waves of downsizing, people today are doing the work that it took two or three people to perform decades ago. Employees put in frequent 10-hour days to meet their bosses’ demands, and often work remotely from home on nights and weekends. With productivity continually climbing, corporate profits have soared to all-time highs; the stock market gained more than $6 trillion in value in 2013. Yet Americans’ real disposable income went up a mere 0.7 percent the same year. What happened to the workers’ raises? Don’t ask. Remember: You’re lucky just to have a job.
A bit of moderate inflation is no big deal — the Fed has the tools to easily rein inflation back in if it rises above the central bank’s target rate. In fact, a little inflation could even help matters, by eroding household debt burdens and reducing real interest rates.
On the other hand, mass unemployment is an ongoing economic and humanitarian catastrophe.
It’s like if your house is on fire, and you’re worried that spraying it with a firehose might break some windows. Maybe true! Also a terrible set of priorities!
If Congress were to pass a plan backed by President Obama to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour — a hefty 39 percent hike — it would result in a significant reduction of the poverty rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 64, and raise about 4.6 million people out of poverty.
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