Inequality a Major Issue in U.S. Presidential Election Campaign, First Time in Decades

Posted Aug. 3, 2016

MP3 Interview with Chuck Collins, author and director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, conducted by Scott Harris

inequality

Thanks in part to the economic agenda of Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders during his unsuccessful Democratic party primary campaign, and the Occupy Wall Street movement that emerged in 2011, the issue of income and wealth inequality has become a topic of serious debate in this year's presidential election campaign. Workers fighting for a rise in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour across the U.S. has also highlighted growing frustration and anger about the growing gap between the nation's rich and poor.

According to a new analysis by economist Emmanuel Saez, Americans in the bottom 99 percent of the country's income distribution saw their take home pay rise 3.9 percent in 2015 over 2014's levels, adjusted for inflation, the highest increase in 17 years. But the top 1 percent wealthiest Americans' income grew by 7.7 percent last year, giving us the highest levels of income inequality in U.S. history.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Chuck Collins, an author and director of the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. and an activist with the group Patriotic Millionaires. Here, he discusses the opportunities for progressive change on the issue of income and wealth inequality in this year’s presidential election campaign.

For more information on the Program on Inequality and the Common Good at the Institute for Policy Studies, visit inequality.org.

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