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Fatter Cats: Executive Pay and American Inequality  

Between 1965 and 2000, CEO compensation grew by about 2500 percent, while worker compensation inched up only about 30 percent. This is a market malfunction, a democratic disaster, and a key driver of inequality, as the political currents that eroded the bargaining power of ordinary Americans have also buoyed the incentive and the opportunity of the richest 1 percent to pad their incomes.

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Wolves of Wall Street: Financialization and American Inequality  

It’s no secret by now that the recent spike in American inequality, and the gains rapidly accruing to the wealthy, are driven in large part by “financialization.” Over the last generation, financial services have expanded not with economic growth, but with stagnation and crisis—and their spectacular rise has accounted for about half of the decline in labor’s share of national income. How did things get this bad?

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Who Pays? Taxes and American Inequality  

The tax system offers us a detailed and damning description of American inequality and, just as importantly, promises to do something about it. But the American system of public finance has always been weak and fragmented, and three decades’ worth of tax cuts haven’t helped.

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A Tattered Safety Net: Social Policy and American Inequality  

The American welfare state is widely regarded as a poor cousin to those of its democratic peers. As the most unequal wealthy country, the United States also does the least to address that inequality through public policy—despite strong historical and international evidence that social spending programs can drastically reduce inequality.

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The Perils of Private Welfare: Job-Based Benefits and American Inequality  

American inequality is driven not just by the uneven distribution of wages, but also by the uneven distribution of job-based benefits. More than any other country, the United States relies on private employment and private bargaining to deliver basic social benefits—including health coverage, retirement security, and paid leave. The results—on any basic measure of economic security—have been dismal.

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The Bare Minimum: Labor Standards and American Inequality  

Labor standards are a key buffer against inequality, setting both an economic and ethical floor. But, on both scores, the current minimum wage offers a pretty shaky floor. Its value—in historical and international terms—is meager; its coverage is uneven; and it is poorly enforced. How did we get here?

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Our Inequality: An Introduction  

Inequality is greater now than it has been at any time in the last century, and the gaps in wages, income, and wealth are wider in the United States than in any other democratic and developed economy. Yet we lack a clear and compelling account of how and why we arrived this point. Our current economic troubles have aimed a spotlight at our inequality problem, but they did not create it. What did?

The United States of Inequality  

The work of Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez on the evolution of top income shares has yielded a lasting and iconic image of American inequality: a long historical curve that starts high in the early years of the twentieth century …

Jim Crow for the Jobless  

The American system of unemployment insurance is a remnant of Jim Crow. While national in its reach, the program’s administrative details are left to the states, a bargain struck in the 1930s as the price for Southern support for New …

Two Cheers and Two Cautions on the Jobs Report  

For the first time in a long time, the jobs report offered mostly good news. The last month saw decent job growth (just over 200,000, alongside an upward revision to the October numbers), and not just in low-wage sectors. An …