Wealth and Inequality

April 18, 2014 • Volume 24, Issue 15
Does the gap between rich and poor threaten democracy?
By Sarah Glazer


The ultra-luxury residential condominium tower (www.1000museum.com)
The ultra-luxury residential condominium tower One Thousand Museum planned for downtown Miami, shown in an artist's rendering, offers residents a rooftop helipad and private vaults for valuables. Prices range from $5 million to $45 million for the six-bedroom penthouse, featuring an indoor pool, gym and media room. (www.1000museum.com)

The very richest now claim a share of the world's wealth not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 1800s and early 1900s. The world's top 1 percent owns about half of global wealth and the bottom half less than 5 percent, according to French economist Thomas Piketty. President Obama is calling for a variety of steps to help struggling middle-class and poor Americans climb the income ladder and to provide more government revenue for programs benefiting the poor. Among his proposals are a hike in the minimum wage and an end to tax loopholes favoring the wealthiest Americans. Likewise, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio swept to victory with a proposal to help pay for preschool programs for poor children by taxing the rich. But conservative economists say such measures would punish entrepreneurialism and stifle economic growth, arguing that wealth at the top translates into investment that creates jobs at the bottom.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cost of Living and Wages
Apr. 17, 2020  Inequality in America
Sep. 08, 2017  Universal Basic Income
Apr. 08, 2016  Future of the Middle Class
Apr. 18, 2014  Wealth and Inequality
Jan. 24, 2014  Minimum Wage
Jun. 19, 2009  Rethinking Retirement
Mar. 06, 2009  Middle-Class Squeeze
Mar. 14, 2008  Gender Pay Gap
Dec. 16, 2005  Minimum Wage
Sep. 27, 2002  Living-Wage Movement
Apr. 17, 1998  Income Inequality
Oct. 27, 1978  Wage-Price Controls
Jun. 16, 1978  Military Pay and Benefits
Mar. 23, 1966  Rising Cost of Living
Oct. 25, 1961  Price-Wage Restraints in National Emergencies
Jun. 21, 1961  Wage Policy in Recovery
Jun. 11, 1958  Prices and Wages in the Recession
Sep. 18, 1957  Control of Living Costs
Nov. 02, 1955  Wages, Prices, Profits
Jan. 26, 1954  Minimum Wage Raise
Jan. 02, 1954  Cost of Living
Jan. 21, 1953  Guaranteed Annual Wage
Dec. 17, 1952  Future of Price and Wage Controls
Nov. 19, 1951  Fringe Benefits and Wage Stabilization
Dec. 06, 1950  Wage Control
Jun. 13, 1949  Wages in Deflation
Jun. 04, 1947  Guarantees of Wages and Employment
Oct. 29, 1946  Decontrol of Wages
Dec. 01, 1945  Minimum Wages
Sep. 29, 1945  Wage Policy
Oct. 27, 1944  Wage Security
May 17, 1943  Incentive Wage Payments
Aug. 25, 1941  Prices, Profits, and Wage Control
Apr. 28, 1941  Wartime Changes in the Cost of Living
Sep. 21, 1940  Two Years of the Wage-Hour Law
Nov. 01, 1938  Industry and Labor Under the Wage-Hour Act
Jan. 20, 1938  Wage Rates and Workers' Incomes
Apr. 11, 1935  The Cost of Living in the United States
Sep. 01, 1930  Wages and the Cost of Living
May 24, 1930  The Anthracite Wage Agreement
Feb. 20, 1925  Measure of Recovery in Profits and Wages Since 1920–21 Depression
Consumer Behavior
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
Economic Crises
Tax Reform
Work and the Family