How companies compensate their employees and executives matters. For the last decade, corporate profits have continually hit record levels, but aside from recent wage growth (that still has only modestly exceeded the rate of inflation, and may only be up temporarily due only to the tightened labor market), the benefits of economic growth have flowed mostly to executive suites. In other words, corporations haven’t invested in their rank-and-file workforces in a way that would create family-sustaining jobs and improve family economic security.
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
For far too long, some elected officials and the corporate-funded think tanks and special interests that back them have sought to define the vast economic divide as inevitable, as in the rich work hard for what they have and if you’re poor or low-income, you simply haven’t worked hard enough. This paper delves into and debunks these pernicious myths that have helped define too many of our public policies.
Disrupting Narratives That Justify Inequality and Poverty
Institute for Policy Studies, March 12, 2019
The U.S. middle class grew significantly during the 20th century in part because the nation put in place public policies (think housing policy, federally backed mortgages, the GI bill, etc.) that helped families access economic opportunity and grow wealth. But the harsh truth is that, by design, these public policies benefited white communities most and often deliberately exclude communities of color.
The Role of Family Wealth in Reinforcing Generational Divides
Institute for Policy Studies, March 4, 2019
This testimony from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Chye-Ching Huang before the House Budget Committee highlights flaws in the so-called Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and offers recommendations to undo the damage the law inflicted upon low- and moderate-income people, while rewarding corporations and the wealthy.
Fundamentally Flawed 2017 Tax Law Largely Leaves Low- and Moderate-Income Americans Behind
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Feb. 27, 2019
This paper argues that public firms are increasingly extractive and unproductive, that shareholders and managers are reducing investments in the things that grow the economy, and that workers, consumers, and the government are being scammed. All of this hurts shared prosperity.
Rejecting the Theory of the Firm
Roosevelt Institute, Feb. 26, 2019
The 2017 federal tax law bestowed most of its benefit on high-income households, and many tax policy analysts project that if nothing changes, the nation will see the effects of these policies in years to come via worsening economic inequality. This paper by the Institute for Policy Studies outlines how states can address poverty and inequality in spite of the federal tax law.
What States Can Do to Reduce Poverty and Inequality Through Tax Policy
Institute for Policy Studies, Feb. 22, 2019
The federal tax code taxes income derived from work at higher rates than income from wealth, e.g. capital gains and real estate investments. This paper from the Washington Center for Equitable Growth explores how the nation could implement a wealth tax and how such a tax could address economic inequality.
Wealth taxation: An introduction to net worth taxes and how one might work in the United States
Center for Equitable Growth, Jan. 23, 2019
Black families have substantially less wealth than white families. This paper by the Institute for Policy Studies examines public policies that facilitated white families’ ability to grow wealth while impeding it for black families.
Report: Dreams Deferred
Institute for Policy Studies, Jan. 2019
“Efforts to reduce discrimination, equalize access to education, ensure equal treatment by the legal system, and otherwise end racial stratification should continue since they seem to be making real, if slow, progress. But these policies should be paired with broader economic policies to end wage stagnation for Americans of all races and, in so doing, reduce the gaps between racial groups.”
How rising U.S. income inequality exacerbates racial economic disparities
Washington Center for Equitable Growth, Aug. 23, 2018
Related: Income Inequality and the Persistence of Racial Economic Disparities, March 12, 2018
From this EPI report: “Regardless of how it is measured, CEO pay continues to be very, very high and has grown far faster in recent decades than typical worker pay. Higher CEO pay does not reflect correspondingly higher output or better firm performance. Exorbitant CEO pay therefore means that the fruits of economic growth are not going to ordinary workers.”
CEO compensation surged in 2017
Economic Policy Institute, Aug. 16, 2018