The report alludes to two prominent measures of income inequality -- the Gini coefficient and ratios of executive pay to that of average workers. By either measure, the United States is either in poor company or in no company at all.
That is to say, a broad measure of income distribution puts the United States in the company of relatively underdeveloped countries -- certainly not any of the countries of Europe. And the stratospheric pay of CEOs compared to ordinary workers cannot be found anywhere in the world.
As other studies have found, sharp inequalities are bad for public health. In countries with highly concentrated wealth, increased stress and other factors mean that even the wealthy are less healthy than they would be in more equitable societies.
The problem in the United States, of course, is that "equitable" is immediately presumed to be the same as "equal." Lingering fears of the deleterious effects of Communism on gumption have resulted in generations of policy-makers -- and voters -- who chose wealth-concentrating policies at every opportunity, from the free-speech rights of corporations to tax and wage policies to the rules for organizing unions.
|Hard work is no longer associated with prosperity or even with economic security.|
Caveat: The report uses one common term to which I always object: unskilled labor. Use of the term reinforces the myth that executive pay is correlated solely with high levels of skill, discounting the effect of executives staffing each other's compensation committees. It also is used to justify such anti-worker nonsense as "training wages" in place of living wages by which work leads to dignity. Those who use the term "unskilled labor" should spend some time actually trying to do the jobs they think the term covers.
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