Mind the Gap: Income Inequality in America

MON, MAY 2, 2016 (1:33:52)

Seven years after the depths of the financial crisis, Wall Street and the 1% have mostly recovered. Indeed, it was recently reported that the chairman of JPMorgan Chase received a 35% raise in compensation to $27 million. Yet wages for the ordinary American have barely risen at all. Indeed, adjusted for inflation, the typical American household does not earn as much as it did in the year 2000. As Madeline Albright put it, reducing income inequality is no longer just an economic issue; it is a "moral imperative." Or is it? The issue of inequality is front and center in the 2016 presidential campaign as it moves past the primaries and into the general election. A panel consisting of Dean Baker, N. Gregory Mankiw, and Dr. Kim Weeden, all experts from various persuasions, discusses what inequality means for America and how the country should address it. Author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Roger Lowenstein moderates the discussion.

(Image: Flickr/L. Whittaker, image cropped)

+ BIO: Dean Baker

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He is frequently cited in economics reporting in major media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, CNBC, and National Public Radio. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian Unlimited (UK), and his blog, Beat the Press, features commentary on economic reporting. His analyses have appeared in many major publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, the Washington Post, the London Financial Times, and the New York Daily News. He received his Ph.D in economics from the University of Michigan.

Dean has written several books, his latest being Taking Economics Seriously (MIT Press) which thinks through what we might gain if we took the ideological blinders off of basic economic principles, False Profits: Recovering from the Bubble Economy (PoliPoint Press, 2010) about what caused - and how to fix - the current economic crisis. In 2009, he wrote Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy (PoliPoint Press), which chronicled the growth and collapse of the stock and housing bubbles and explained how policy blunders and greed led to the catastrophic - but completely predictable - market meltdowns. He also wrote a chapter ("From Financial Crisis to Opportunity") in Thinking Big: Progressive Ideas for a New Era (Progressive Ideas Network, 2009). His previous books include The United States Since 1980 (Cambridge University Press, 2007); The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer (Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2006), and Social Security: The Phony Crisis (with Mark Weisbrot, University of Chicago Press, 1999). His book Getting Prices Right: The Debate Over the Consumer Price Index (editor, M.E. Sharpe, 1997) was a winner of a Choice Book Award as one of the outstanding academic books of the year.

Among his numerous articles are "The Benefits of a Financial Transactions Tax," Tax Notes 121, no. 4, 2008; "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence," (with David R. Howell, Andrew Glyn, and John Schmitt), Capitalism and Society 2, no. 1, 2007; "Asset Returns and Economic Growth," (with Brad DeLong and Paul Krugman), Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 2005; "Financing Drug Research: What Are the Issues," Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2004; "Medicare Choice Plus: The Solution to the Long-Term Deficit Problem," Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2004; The Benefits of Full Employment (with Jared Bernstein), Economic Policy Institute, 2004; "Professional Protectionists: The Gains From Free Trade in Highly Paid Professional Services," Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2003; and "The Run-Up in Home Prices: Is It Real or Is It Another Bubble," Center for Economic and Policy Research, 2002.

Dean previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. He has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, and the OECD's Trade Union Advisory Council. He was the author of the weekly online commentary on economic reporting, the Economic Reporting Review (ERR), from 1996 - 2006.

+ BIO: N. Gregory Mankiw

N. Gregory "Greg" Mankiw is the Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Professor Mankiw is a prolific writer and a regular participant in academic and policy debates. His published articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and numerous academic journals. He has been an adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Congressional Budget Office. From 2003 to 2005 he served as Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers.

+ BIO: Kim Weeden

Dr. Kim Weeden is the Director of the Center for the Study of Inequality, and Chair of Sociology at Cornell University. She studies rising income inequality; social class, gender, and race-based differences in educational attainment; intergenerational mobility and equality of opportunity; and gender inequality in the labor market. She is the founding editor and deputy editor of Sociological Science, a non-profit, peer-reviewed, open-access journal of sociological research. Her research on inequality has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and the Harvard Business Review.

+ BIO: Roger Lowenstein

Roger Lowenstein is a former reporter with The Wall Street Journal, currently a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Bloomberg, as well as the author of five books, Buffett, When Genius Failed, Origins of the Crash, While America Aged, and the forthcoming, The End of Wall Street--out this April from The Penguin Press. He lives in Newton, MA.

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