Spotlight Exclusives

Rising Inequality in a Sea of Spending Cuts and Budget Negotiations

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OOTScommends to our readers a recent cover story in The Atlantic magazine “The Rise of theNew Global Elite” for a thought-provoking take on the new state of income inequality. Thejumping-off point for the story is a quote from none other than former Fed ChairmanAlan Greenspan that the U.S. economy has become “very distorted.” As the storystates, “[w]hen the high priest of capitalism himself is declaring the growthin economic inequality a national crisis, something has gone very, very wrong.”


Thereis a big debate about the importance of income inequality, but no matter whatside you are on, there۪s little doubt the issue profoundly affects low- andmiddle-income people in this country. The article describes the causes of the increase,resulting in a situation where “between 2002 and 2007, 65 percent of allincome growth in the United States went to the top 1 percent of thepopulation.” 


Itis worth noting that, despite an alarming long-term increase in incomeinequality, the topic is still one that economists have been reluctant toaddress head on. Last fall, a New York Timescommentator concludedthat “many economists are reluctant to confront rising income inequalitydirectly, saying that whether this trend is good or bad requires a valuejudgment that is best left to philosophers.”


OOTSthinks this is a topic well worth exploration from a wide range of advocates,citizens, policymakers, economists, and, yes, even philosophers. Kudos to The Atlantic for giving it the attentionit deserves.


Posted by Mike


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