America the rich?
Angus Kennedy introduced a discussion on America the rich?: looking at the the material realities of poverty in America today, the immiseration of the masses and asking whatever happened to trickle-down theory.
Some questions to think about with the readings:
Is America really becoming two nations? One poor, one rich? Are the rich stealing from the poor to finance their lifestyles?
If productivity has been growing in America in the last decade, are the benefits trickling down across society as a whole? If not, why not?
If they are, what explains supposed rises in poverty and long-term unemployment?
Are demographic shifts a key factor to consider in explaining changes in income distribution?
What about gender? Have women benefited at the expense of men?
If economic growth is to the benefit of all, how come many are working longer hours, taking two jobs and so much in debt?
Stephen Rose, Does Productivity Growth Still Benefit Working Americans?, June 2007, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
Economic Report of the President 2009, Appendix B Statistical Tables, esp Table B-47
Jared Bernstein, Median income rose as did poverty in 2007, Economic Policy Institute, 26/08/08
Barbara Ehrenreich, Going to Extremes: Notes from a Divided Nation, 2008
Robert Brenner, What is good for Goldman Sachs is good for America: the origins of the current crisis, 18/04/09
Jack Rasmus, Wages in America: The Rich Get Richer and the Rest Get Less, Kyklos Productions, 2004
Economist, Cheap and cheerful - America’s overstated inequality, 24/07/08
Economic Policy Institute, National Data
How American awfulness stacks up, Left Business Observer, July 2009
Overconsuming health, Left Business Observer, August 2009
Further background material:
Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickled and Dimed: Undercover in Low-wage America, 2002
Sam Roberts, U.S Plans New Measure for Poverty, NY Times, 02/03/10
Mark Thoma, New Census Data on Poverty, Income, and Health Insurance, 26/08/08
Roger Lowenstein, The Inequality Conundrum, NY Times, 10/06/07
Brink Lindsey, Nostalgianomics, Reason, June 2009
Paul Krugman, For Richer, NY Times Magazine, 20/10/02
Jim Manzi, Keeping America’s Edge, National Affairs, Winter 2010