“If by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal", then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal.”
John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

Poverty in America

Robert Reich Explains the Economy

Tea Party Pubic Service Announcement

June 21, 2008

The New Inequality

Special edition of The Nation explores the current state of inequality in the U.S. The June 30 issue explores the impact of the greatest level of inequality since the Gilded Age prior to WWI.

The Rich and the Rest of Us by John Cavanagh and Chuck Collins
Over the last three decades, market worshipping politicians and their and their corporate backers have engineered the most colossal redistribution of wealth in modern world history, a redistribution form the bottom up, from working people to the tiny global elite.
Read more http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080630/cavanagh_collins

Our Gilded Age by Doug Henwood
It has become a cliche to say that we live in a new Gilded Age. True enough, up to a point. Money, mostly new money, rules politics and culture. Corporations merge into larger corporations. You have to go back to before World War I to match today’s levels of income and wealth inequality.
In some ways, the second Gilded age is worse than the first. Sure, we live longer now, more of us can read and you don’t have to be a white man to vote. But to prove my point, consider two big arties thrown 110 years apart.

Read more http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080630/henwood

Meet the Wealth Gap by Gabriel Thompson

For a delivery worker, perched on a bicycle with plastic bags of food dangling from each handlebar, Manhattan's East Side offers many opportunities for a trip to the emergency room. I learn this one May afternoon as I trail 26-year-old Apolinar Perez, a chubby-faced Mexican immigrant who skillfully steers his black mountain bike through the chaos. A taxi switches lanes without warning, nearly clipping my front wheel. Suit-clad men and women stride purposefully into the street, too wrapped up in their phone conversations to notice they're crossing against the light. A black Suburban with tinted windows screeches to a halt in front of us, directly in the path of the bike lane.
Perez arrived in New York City five years ago, after crossing the Texas border in the back of a truck while hidden beneath a pile of children's toys. Since then, he's delivered food for the same Italian restaurant, working eleven hours a day, six days a week. Pay couldn't be simpler: before heading home each night, one of the managers hands him a $20 bill. That's an hourly wage of $1.82--well below the state's $4.85 minimum wage for delivery workers. The rest of his earnings come through tips, which average $60 a shift. There's no overtime or healthcare, no sick days or workers' comp. I inquire about any benefits I might be forgetting. "For Christmas they give me $50," he says. "Sometimes.

Read more http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080630/thompson

Race and Extreme Inequality by Dedrick Muhammad

The current presidential campaign has sparked a lot of conversation about race, but it has primarily been at the symbolic and interpersonal level. It has failed to probe the underlying substance of racial economic disparities and the slow rate of progress toward equity in wealth and wages. Too many Americans naïvely see the strong presidential candidacy of Illinois Senator Barack Obama as evidence of the resolution of the racial divide.

Read more http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080630/muhammad

This Land is Their Land by Barbara Ehrenreich

I took a little vacation recently--nine hours in Sun Valley, Idaho, before an evening speaking engagement. The sky was deep blue, the air crystalline, the hills green and not yet on fire. Strolling out of the Sun Valley Lodge, I found a tiny tourist village, complete with Swiss-style bakery, multistar restaurant and "opera house." What luck--the boutiques were displaying outdoor racks of summer clothing on sale! Nature and commerce were conspiring to make this the perfect micro-vacation.
But as I approached the stores things started to get a little sinister--maybe I had wandered into a movie set or Paris Hilton's closet?--because even at a 60 percent discount, I couldn't find a sleeveless cotton shirt for less than $100. These items shouldn't have been outdoors; they should have been in locked glass cases.

Then I remembered the general rule, which has been in effect since sometime in the 1990s: if a place is truly beautiful, you can't afford to be there. All right, I'm sure there are still exceptions--a few scenic spots not yet eaten up by mansions. But they're going fast.

Read more http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080630/ehrenreich

For more information on income and wealth inequality and how to work for a more equal society:

The Working Group on Extreme Inequality began coming together in 2007. Many of the organizations involved in the Working Group had, over the years, been active in organizing against poverty and economic insecurity. That effort had helped us understand that the fight against inequality, to make significant headway, has to both “raise the floor” and challenge the concentrated wealth and power that increasingly sit at the top of our economic ladder.

About Inequality.org
Ten or fifteen years ago, we can attest, the growing concentration of income and wealth was not a focus of overwhelming national concern. The problem is worse today than it was then. Nevertheless, over the past year, America has taken a huge step forward in awareness. Across the political spectrum, there is almost universal acknowledgment that our nation (and planet) are pulling apart economically.
Alan Greenspan has spoken out. So has George Bush. Jim Webb made rising inequality a theme of his successful campaign for the Senate in Virginia. "When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did," Webb pointed out in his response to the President's State of the Union Message in January. "Today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money his or her boss makes in one day."
You'll find many other startling and disturbing statistics in our "By the Numbers " section. None are widely contested.
The debate now turns to three important questions: Does it matter? Why is it happening? What can be done? Despite the emerging consensus over the fact of rising inequality, there is still wide divergence of opinion over its sources - and potential solutions.
Inequality.org was created to serve as a dependable portal of information. Too much inequality, we believe, undermines democracy, community, culture and economic health. Because the problem is so important, accuracy is important, and we are committed to presenting the best and latest information.
We hope you will bookmark us, join us regularly for up-to-date information and analysis, and participate in the conversation - and the action.
Chuck Collins, Institute for Policy Studies
James Lardner, Demos


United for a Fair Economy is a national, independent, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. UFE raises awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart. We support and help build social movements for greater equality.


About Too Much
Each and every week, Too Much explores excess and inequality, in the United States and throughout the world. We cover a wide swatch of economic and political territory, everything from executive pay and lifestyles of the rich and famous to the latest research insights on how staggering income and wealth divides are impacting our health and our happiness.
Too Much began publication in 1995 as a print quarterly jointly published by the Council on International and Public Affairs in New York and the Boston-based United for a Fair Economy, then became an online weekly nine years later.
Too Much, ever since its inception, has been edited by labor journalist Sam Pizzigati, the author, most recently, of the award-winning Greed and and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives.
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