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Senior Contributor

The myths about inequality

 
 
 
 
 

DEPARTMENT OF RIGHT-WING DECEPTION. The three biggest Republican lies about widening inequality:

(1) The rich and CEOs are America’s job creators. Wrong. The middle class and poor are the job-creators, through their purchases of goods and services. If they don’t have enough purchasing power because they’re not paid enough, companies won’t create more jobs and the economy won't grow.

(2) People are paid what they’re worth in the market. Bunk. CEOs who got 30 times the pay of... typical workers forty years ago now get 300 times the pay because they control their compensation committees and their stock options have ballooned. Meanwhile, typical workers who earned more forty years ago than they do now (adjusted for inflation) had strong unions bargaining for them then, but don’t any longer (now, fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers are unionized).

(3) Anyone can make it in America with enough guts, gumption, and intelligence. Baloney. We’ve turned our backs on poor kids, 42 percent of whom will still be in poverty as adults – a higher percent than in any other advanced nation.

Widening inequality can be reversed, but it will require America knows the truth and takes bold political steps: at the very least, higher taxes on the rich to pay for better education for the poor and middle, strengthened labor unions, and a living wage.