The Great Debate

from Breakingviews:

Review: Brazil’s toughest tests lie off the pitch

May 16, 2014

By Dominic Elliott 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Why India has less inequality than U.S.

By Anja Manuel
May 8, 2014

Voters line up to cast their votes outside a polling station at Wadipora in Kupwara district

The outcome of India’s general election may have dramatic consequences for the nation’s economic health.

The other inequality is structural

By David Dante Troutt
February 3, 2014

For the second year in a row, the issue of economic inequality was featured in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address. Even some Republican lawmakers have now dared to speak the “i-word.”

Swiss outrage over executive pay sparks a movement in Europe

By Peter Gumbel
November 15, 2013

Here’s an idea for how to end corporate greed and reverse the trend of growing income inequality worldwide: impose a new rule that would limit the pay of top executives to just 12 times that of the lowest-paid employees at the same firm. In other words, prevent CEOs from earning more in one month than the lowliest shop-floor worker earns in a year.

Obama on King, but in a passive voice

By Jeff Shesol
August 29, 2013

It was a sermon — of sorts.

President Barack Obama’s address at the Lincoln Memorial on Wednesday only rarely echoed the cadence — the preacher’s rhythm — of the speech he was there to commemorate, and could not match its moral force. But this was a sermon all the same.

Trying to raise a family on a fast-food salary

By Christine Owens
August 29, 2013

Fast-food workers in more than 50 cities Thursday are striking for fair pay and the right to form a union — the biggest walkout to hit the industry. This latest round of labor unrest comes 50 years after hundreds of thousands of Americans, led by Martin Luther King Jr., joined the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, demanding not only civil rights, but also good jobs and economic equality.

The real student loan crisis

By Robert Hiltonsmith
August 1, 2013

A month has passed since Congress allowed interest rates on federal student loans to double for some borrowers, increasing the cost of their college educations by as much as $4,500. While the debate continues to focus on the interest rate for future borrowers, it is ignoring the larger problem with student debt: the more than $1 trillion that had already been borrowed before the interest rate debate. This existing debt will continue to drag down borrowers’ financial security, which in turn drags down the entire economy. By how much? Demos, the public policy group where I work, has just released a study that estimates the economic impact of the existing student debt burden, and finds that it may cost the country more than $4 trillion in lost economic activity.

Inequality’s pernicious twin is our growing cultural divide

By Don Peck
December 20, 2012

I enjoyed reading Reuters’ textured survey of the nature of inequality in America, and how government shapes it, shrinking the gaps between us through some of its actions and widening them through others. One comes away from the series with an appreciation for the complex blend of factors — federal policy, technology, unevenness of educational opportunity, the evolution of the market — that has helped propel some of us to where we are today, while failing to lift others.

First Gilded Age yielded to Progessives, can today’s?

By Richard White
October 9, 2012

 

C.K.G. Billings, a Gilded Age plutocrat, rented the grand ballroom of the celebrated restaurant Sherry's for an elaborate dinner on March 28, 1903. He had the floor covered with turf so that he and his 36 guests could sit on their horses, which had been taken up to the fourth-floor ballroom by elevator.

Mark Twain labeled the late 19th century the Gilded Age – its glittering surface masking the rot within. This term applies today for the same reasons: The rich get richer; most everyone else gets poorer. And the public thinks corruption rules.

What exactly do we mean by ‘inequality’?

September 11, 2012

What do we mean by “inequality,” and why exactly is it bad for American democracy? Are we discussing inequality of wages within a given firm or industry? Or inequality in household income — i.e., the difference between the poor and the middle class, or between the rich and everyone else? What about political inequality — is it a cause or an effect of economic inequality?