Sunday, March 6, 2016

Gateway to Sources and Information About Income Inequality in the United States

acMillions of Americans are working longer hours for lower wages, and yet almost all of the new income and wealth being created is going to the top one percent. While the top one percent have seen their incomes rise 18 percent over the past decade, those in the middle have actually seen their incomes fall. 
  Scholars, from the Nobel-Prize-winning Paul Krugman to the widely respected economist James Surowiecki, have been working to analyze these disparities. Americans are not generally aware of the extent of this income inequality. In most developed countries, there is a direct relationship between income inequality and the public's views about the need to address the issue – but not in America, where income inequality is worse but the concern is lower. The most commonly accepted measurement of income inequality, the Gini Index, ranks the United States sixth-worst among 173 nations. 

Private-equity companies are far more obviously connected to an undue concentration of wealth at the expense of workers and communities than are collateralized-debt obligations, which were at the core of our 2008 Great Recession. Within the one percent, there is a top one percent that consists disproportionately of private-equity and hedge-fund principals.


“I've had an especially hard time exploring the influence of big money on the museum and art world. The mega-rich have come to dominate both museum boards and the art market, and through them they have left a deep imprint on American culture, but in my reporting I kept running into roadblocks. Clearly, this is an area ripe for further inquiry.”

Massing, Michael, ‘How to Cover the One Percent,’ The New York Review, January 14, 2016, pp: 74-76.

“The type of website I have in mind
would provide it. In the process, it could
pile a registry of corporate spokes-
men, front groups, researchers for hire,
and "astroturf" organizations-ostensibly independent groups that are
ated by industries and trade groups to advance their interests.”

Massing, Michael, ‘How to Cover the One Percent,’ The New York Review, January 14, 2016, pp: 74-76.

Zenia Mucha, the head of communications for Walt Disney and a top adviser to its chairman, Robert Iger, is known for her skill at cajoling and browbeating reporters. As one journalist who covers the industry told me about Disney, "Almost no one writes a bad word about them so as to have access to top officials." (He was not, of
course, referring to film reviews.) Disney's holdings . . .  include Walt Disney Studios, the Disney Channel, Disney Resorts, Pixar, Lucasfilm, Marvel, ABC TV and News, ESPN, A&E, and Lifetime.”

Massing, Michael, ‘How to Cover the One Percent,’ The New York Review, January 14, 2016, pp: 74-76.
“Current coverage of the tech world leans heavily toward products, start-ups, and personalities.
A website on money and power would instead concentrate on its growing political might. Ten years ago, for
ample Google had a one-person lobbying shop in Washington; today, it has more than one hundred lobbyists working out of an office roughly the size of the White House. In addition to such traditional lobbying, Google is financing research at universities and think tanks, investing in advocacy groups, and "funding pro-business coalitions cast as public-interest projects," as Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold reported in 2014 in The Washington Post.

“They described how in the spring of 2012 Google - facing possible legal action by the FTC over the dominance of its search engine-played a behind-the-scenes part in organizing a conference at George Mason University, to which it is a large contributor. It made sure that the program was heavily weighted with speakers sympathetic to Google and, according to the Post, it arranged for many FTC economists and lawyers to hear them. In the end, the commission decided against taking legal action. Just why could be a good subject for inquiry. Today, Google is working hard to protect its right to collect consumer data and to that end has sought the support of conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation. The type of string-pulling described by'the Post goes on routinely and deserves more routine coverage.”

Massing, Michael, ‘How to Cover the One Percent,’ The New York Review, January 14, 2016, pp: 74-76.