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Economic inequality in the United States is on the rise, accelerated by increasing wealth at the top and stagnating wages at the middle and bottom. Economic mobility has stalled since the mid-20th century according to extensive economic and social science research.
Over the past 15 years, middle and working-class incomes have grown at a slower pace. According to recent studies, wealth disparities are large and may be widening. There are many factors that different experts have pointed to including tax policy, favorable treatment of hedge fund earnings, stalled minimum wage laws, swelling executive compensation, weakened unions, globalization and more.
Especially since the economic downturn of 2008, increasing media attention on income inequality and its effects on our society has turned up the volume on the public conversation. But has the coverage actually increased the philanthropic sector’s understanding of the fundamental economic policy choices we face? There exist serious differences in opinion about what is actually happening, who is most affected, and how to address economic inequality and mobility -- and even if the growing distance between the middle and working class and the wealthy and super-wealthy is indeed a problem.The spectrum is wide. Some policy makers and researchers consider increasing economic inequality a threat to the very idea of the American Dream and stress the need to advance policies to address it. Others argue that the focus on economic inequality is misplaced, and that our attention should focus instead on mobility.
A great many philanthropic organizations have missions focused on poverty alleviation and greater economic equality. But how well-aligned are their giving strategies – workforce development, food assistance, community organizing, worker rights, national advocacy campaigns and countless others – with the economic levers that could most effectively improve the lives of poor and middle-class people in America?
Join us for this program in which experts discuss the trends and drivers of income inequality, poverty and mobility, and help funders consider the implications for their work.
- Jane Waldfogel, Compton Foundation Centennial Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work
- Scott Winship, Walter B. Wriston Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
- Dorian Warren (Moderator), Associate Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs, Columbia SIPA
All interested funders.
9:00 am - 9:15 am Check-in
9:15 am - 11:15 am Program
Registration is required by May 18th.
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