Is a Wealth Tax in Our Future?

The inequality “problem” — the growing gap between the very rich and those near the bottom — has become a popular topic of discussion ever since the release of French economist Thomas Piketty’s book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, earlier this year. It’s over 600 pages long, so I doubt that anyone has actually read […]

Will Minimum Wage Hikes Help Red States or Hurt Them?

Last night voters in four “red” states approved minimum wage increases over the next few years.  The highest wage on the ballot was in Alaska, which will increase to $9.75 an hour by 2016 (indexed to inflation).  One on hand, it should be up to states to decide what their wages will be.  They have a better idea of how […]

A Rarely Mentioned Reason for the Wealth Gap

When Janet Yellen starts talking about income inequality, it is evident the topic is not going away anytime soon.  In addition to the differences in income earned by the top and bottom 20 percent, however, there are differences in overall wealth (assets).  Wealth disparities are not addressed as often as income disparities, since wealth goes beyond labor […]

Tax Inversions: A Clarion Call for Corporate Tax Reform

The U.S. Treasury Department issued new rules last month designed to make it more difficult for U.S. companies to strike “tax inversion” deals — transactions in which a U.S. company merges with a foreign business located in a lower-tax jurisdiction, and then reincorporates overseas in order to reduce its tax bill to Uncle Sam. Tax […]

Los Angeles Planning to Hike the Minimum Wage for Hotel Employees

Just when I thought the granola state could not get any nuttier, here comes a city-council approved plan (to be subject to a final procedural vote and the mayor’s signature), to hike the minimum wage for employees of large hotels to $15.37 an hour. The law would apply to hotels with 300 or more rooms […]

What’s In a Wage?

Today the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its quarterly report (June 2014) on the cost of employee compensation.  The average hourly wage for U.S. workers in the private sector was $21.02.  Broken down: The average hourly wage for private sector full-time workers in all industries was $24.04.  For part-time workers it was $12.37. The average […]

More Evidence: Unemployment Benefits Hurt the Unemployed

In an earlier post, I highlighted a study from the Federal Reserve concluding that the extension of unemployment benefits through December 2013 may have prolonged unemployment. Several previous studies over the past decades have suggested this same effect of unemployment benefits.  To add to the body of evidence, a study just released from the House […]

Headlines That Are Not Screaming “Economic Recovery!”

Working Part Time – But Not by Choice (St. Louis Fed) 36 Percent of Adults Lack Retirement Savings, Including Many 65 or Older (Los Angeles Times) Five Years of Weak Wages (ABC News) From April to July 2014, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by 2.1 million to 20.1 million […]

Finally! A Proposal That Would Foster Entrepreneurship in Texas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor in this fall’s election, has proposed a measure that would eliminate occupational licensing for jobs that do not directly impact the health and safety of consumers. Of all the proposals designed to help poor and lower-income people, this one deserves major kudos. It does not […]

The “Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014″

Yesterday, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security introduced a bill to combat Social Security Disability fraud.  Yay!  The “Stop Disability Fraud Act of 2014” is a result of some very high-profile cases involving massive disability fraud rings, and the fact that a record 11 million (see my […]