Issue Spotlight: Increasingly Unequal States of America
The top 1% of Pennsylvania earners took home more than half the total increase in income over the past 30 years and saw more than 10 times as much growth in income as the bottom 99%, according to a new report from the Economic Analysis Research Network (EARN) that looks at growing income inequality across the 50 states.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Feb. 18, 2015) – The Better Choices for Pennsylvania Coalition released today a list of 19 recommendations to make Pennsylvania’s tax system fairer. State and local taxes require low- and middle-income workers to pay more of their income in taxes than the highest-income Pennsylvanians, making it hard to raise sufficient funds for public schools, higher education, health care and other vital services.
Our national report released by the Economic Analysis Research Network (EARN) and the Economic Policy Institute presents updated estimates of top incomes from 1917 to 2012 for all 50 U.S. states and multi-state regions. (See the national report at http://goo.gl/AnFnMt). This brief expands on the Pennsylvania findings of the national report and presents updates by county and metropolitan area on trends in the share of income earned by the top 1 percent in 1978 and 2012.
A study identifying marriage as a factor in growing income inequality — specifically, the marriage of highly educated people to other highly educated people (resulting in higher incomes) — is a great example of "misdirection," Mark Price writes.
It is a very good sign that prominent low-wage employers are talking in a positive way about raising wages for their workers. What to look for in the coming months is whether politicians normally opposed to a minimum wage increase begin shifting their stance.
Working families have seen their bargaining power sapped by policy choices that have shifted increasing amounts of the fruits of productivity growth to a narrow sliver of finance and executive occupations here and across the country.