Policymakers Should Heed Condoleeza Rice’s Warnings
November 30, 2011 09:40 pm
Speaking on “Meet the Press” about the nation’s education challenges, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice noted, “I think it’s gonna drive us into class warfare like we’ve never seen, because education, even in the segregated South, was always the way that you got out.”
Dr. Rice’s comments are an important addition to the national discussion on income equality that’s been happening over the last few weeks. This isn’t a matter of simple Thanksgiving guilt, but based on real analyses on the economy and what inequality means for the nation’s future. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a report showing that income inequality grew significantly in the last three decades. While the income of the top 1 percent and top 20 percent in the nation grew by 275 percent and 65 percent, respectively, between 1979 and 2007, the income of the nation’s lowest income quartile grew by only 18 percent. As the chart to above shows, when factoring in inflation, the actual disparity is even greater. This report was followed up by a 15-page response by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), which highlights that decreasing inequality should be driven by reducing the inequality of government transfer payments rather than taxes.
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