If the minimum wage kept place with inflation over the past 40 years, it would $10.74 an hour -- over $3 more than today's federal minimum wage of $7.25. President Obama advocates raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, but some fast food workers and union activists are pushing even higher, for an even $15 an hour.
Kshama Sawant is the only socialist member of Seattle's City Council, and she's putting her money where her mouth is. After accepting office earlier this month, she announced that she will only keep $40,000 of her $117,000 annual salary -- less than half, and about the salary of the average worker in Seattle.
Last week, unemployment benefits expired for over a million Americans. Also, a report revealed that over 50.1 percent of Congress are millionaires.
An in-depth New York Times article on super-rich tycoons such as Sanford Weill and Bill Gates drew scorn from a number of NYT readers, who say the moguls don't give enough credit to their employees and should pay higher taxes. The article says we're in a new "Gilded Age":
Only twice before over the last century has 5 percent of the national income gone to families in the upper one-one-hundredth of a percent of the income distribution — currently, the almost 15,000 families with incomes of $9.5 million or more a year, according to an analysis of tax returns by the economists Emmanuel Saez at the University of California, Berkeley and Thomas Piketty at the Paris School of Economics.
Extreme wealth in America isn't necessarily a bad thing -- in fact, it's an important part of the American Dream. What's troubling is America's economic inequality: while the top tiers are doing better all the time, the middle- and low-income sectors can hardly say the same.
What can be done to snuff out America's economic inequality?