Articles from Institute for Policy Studies

The Moderate’s Case for a Maximum Wage

For the first time since the Occupy movement shoved inequality onto the national stage in 2011, Democrats in Congress have enough heft in Congress to force floor debates on proposals that meaningfully target that inequality — and narrow the gap between America’s rich and everyone else.

Could any of these proposals actually ever pass the House? That will depend on whether the chamber’s “moderate” Democrats take their moderation seriously.

How the 1% Profit Off of Racial Economic Inequality

An economy that’s rigged to benefit the richest 1% has left most of America behind. While wages for workers have remained flat for decades, expenses for healthcare, housing, and most basic needs have risen. Alongside record concentrations of income and wealth at the top, America’s racial wealth divide has persisted – or worsened.

An MLK Day Reflection: The Racial Wealth Gap Is Killing the Middle Class

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been 90 on January 15, so it’s time for a progress report.

Fifty years after co-founding the Poor People’s Campaign, a multiracial campaign for economic justice, the state of King’s dream of racial equity and freedom from poverty is far from attained.

On the positive side, the U.S. Black unemployment rate reached historic lows in 2018. There’s also been a modest recent uptick in median household wealth for Black, Latino, and white families alike.  We could easily conclude that the racial economic divide is closing.

Martin Luther King’s dream requires we overcome “our fantasy of self deception”

It has become increasingly evident that the “post-racial America” widely discussed after the election of the nation’s first Black president was a pre-Trump example of “fake news.” On this 90th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we know there has been only nominal progress and even outright regression of wealth accumulation for African Americans and Latinos in America.

The Next US-North Korea Summit

The second meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un is scheduled for next month. The most likely location will be Vietnam. The agenda is much the same as before: how to get North Korea to denuclearize and the United States to dismantle its sanctions regime. The question remains: which side will make the first substantial move?

The Deep-Pocket Push to Deep-Six Public Schools

Back during the 1960s and 1970s, in cities, suburbs, and small towns across the United States, teacher strikes made headlines on a fairly regular basis. Teachers in those years had a variety of reasons for walking out. They struck for the right to bargain. They struck for decent pay and benefits. They struck for professional dignity.

When Corporations Pay CEOs Way More Than Employees, Make Them Pay!

In 2018, an American city made history by introducing the world’s first tax penalty on companies that pay their CEOs more than 100 times their median wage. Portland, Oregon, now levies a 10 percent surtax on firms that surpass that level. It rises to 25 percent on firms with pay gaps exceeding 250 to 1.

Portland officials have just shared preliminary results for 2018. Of the 337 returns processed so far, 153 corporations had to pay up. Abercrombie & Fitch had the widest gap between their CEO and median worker pay, at 3,431 to 1.

The Government Shutdown Expands the Ranks of ‘Underwater Nation’

As the government shutdown drags on, the image of federal workers lining up at food pantries has dramatized just how many workers live financially close to the edge.

By one estimate, almost 80 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck. Miss one check and you’re taking a second look at what’s in the back of the pantry cupboard.

A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice Is Far From Reality

January 15th marked what would’ve been Dr. Martin Luther King’s 90th birthday.

Most known for his famous “I Have Dream Speech,” King envisioned a future in which deep racial inequalities — including deep economic inequality — was eradicated. He worked tirelessly towards that mission.

Over 50 years after his assassination, sensational media stories have focused heavily on the black unemployment rate, which has reached historic lows.