Gross Domestic Product and U.S. Inequality

By Karen Petrou

On January 22, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and 18 senior House Democrats reintroduced legislation (now H.R. 707) requiring federal statisticians to provide an equality-focused insight into the gross domestic product (GDP) number all too often considered the arbiter of American prosperity.  Senate Minority Leader Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the same bill last year and are sure to do it again and, then to join Maloney in pressing for action.  This time, it will come quickly in the House and may well pass the Senate in this Congress.  Would it make an equality difference?  No, but at least we’d know more clearly how much trouble we’re in.
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Income, Wealth, and Well-Being

By Karen Shaw Petrou

In prior blog posts, we’ve looked at recent data on income and wealth to assess U.S. economic equality and the policies that drive it.  Depressed that we are, we soldier on and here turn to a new Federal Reserve staff study that puts these two critical indicators together with a third – consumption – in an impressive effort to judge economic equality not just by separate distribution tables, but also by a “multi-dimensional” approach.  This looks not only at who has how much income or wealth, but also at who has the most of each along with the greatest amount of consumption.  Combining all three measures of prosperity turns out to show that a small group of people who have the most income and wealth control a lot more economic resources than even prior measures of inequality revealed.  Continue reading “Income, Wealth, and Well-Being”