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On the New Inequality

The June 30, 2008, issue of The Nation features a variety of articles covering economic insecurity, wealth distribution, and intractable plutocracy in the United States.

In their introductory essay, “The Rich and the Rest of Us,” John Cavanagh and Chuck Collins observe,

Too many Americans see the enormous concentration of our nation’s wealth as a symptom of a sick society, not a cause. Indeed, most of our politicians and pundits refuse to treat it as any sort of problem at all. They may sometimes bewail particularly unseemly CEO paychecks. They may twitter occasionally about the latest bilious billionaire extravagance. But that’s it.

The Senate couldn’t even manage to eliminate a tax loophole for gazillionaire hedge-fund managers last year. And even progressive wish lists tend to call only for a return to pre-George Bush tax rates, a step that would undo a mere one-sixth of the rise in income inequality we have experienced since the late 1970s, according to the Brookings Institution.

Cavanagh and Collins also note,

In April 2007 … a national coalition of organizations under the umbrella of Half in Ten (www.halfinten.org) put forward a broad set of proposals to cut poverty in half over the next decade. But this effort will likely fall short as long as concentrated wealth defines our nation’s political priorities. And until we seriously tax the holders of concentrated wealth, we will lack the funding resources that any bold poverty-fighting initiative demands.

Be sure to review the links and “new and recent” books list compiled in “Extreme Inequality: A Nation Guide.”

[Special thanks to Sandy Berman for the heads-up!]

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