Income Inequality's Past, Present And Pending Future

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Income inequality in the United States continues to deepen. We'll lay out the baseline for the Trump years.

Income inequality in the United States is at the forefront in public debate. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Income inequality in the United States is at the forefront of public debate. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Inequality has taken no break in the election season or economic recovery. The richest 62 people in the world have as much wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion. New research in the U.S. shows that even factoring in every government support program, the bottom half has been completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s, while the top has soared. Donald Trump promised to be the voice of the working man and woman. This hour On Point: inequality now, and the way ahead. — Tom Ashbrook


Catherine Rampell, opinion columnist for the Washington Post. (@crampell)

Gabriel Zucman, assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Co-author, with Thomas Piketty and Emanuel Saez, of "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States." Author of "The Hidden Wealth of Nations—The Scourge of Tax Havens." (@gabriel_zucman)

Walter Scheidel, professor of classics and history at Stanford University. Author of the upcoming book, "The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty First Century." (@WalterScheidel)

Steve Novick, commissioner of the City of Portland. As commissioner, he crafted a bill to raise the business tax on companies that pay their CEOs more than 100 times what their average worker makes. (@NovickOR)

From Tom's Reading List

The Washington Post: Trump, sailing in on economic tailwinds — "After all, Trump will soon take office with among the most favorable economic conditions — as measured by both the government and private data sources — imaginable. And you can bet he, and his supporters, will gleefully claim credit."

The New York Times: A Bigger Economic Pie, but a Smaller Slice for Half of the U.S. — "The real economy more than doubled in size; the government now uses a substantial share of that bounty to hand over as much as $5 trillion to help working families, older people, disabled and unemployed people pay for a home, visit a doctor and put their children through school. Yet for half of all Americans, their share of the total economic pie has shrunk significantly, new research has found."

The Wall Street Journal: Barely Half of 30-Year-Olds Earn More Than Their Parents — "Barely half of 30-year-olds earn more than their parents did at a similar age, a research team found, an enormous decline from the early 1970s when the incomes of nearly all offspring outpaced their parents. Even rapid economic growth won’t do much to reverse the trend."

This program aired on December 14, 2016.


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