We just launched a new website, inequality.is. I want to take an opportunity to tell you a little about it. What this website does is help everyday people see themselves in the economy.
My team here at EPI and at Periscopic worked hard to make inequality.is fun, accessible and informative. Generally, people get that inequality exists, what we are trying to do is explain why it matters.
The website takes people through a series of pages where they can see themselves in the story of inequality. There’s a great video, narrated by Robert Reich, which tells the story of how inequality was and is being created.
The site begins with a look at the income distribution and users can visualize how much money the top 10% takes home in income versus the bottom 90%. That’s inequality.is/real.
inequality.is/personal lets users see themselves through the eyes of their particular demographic characteristics—age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education—and sees how average wages differ depending on your personal characteristics. Users can play with this interactive feature, putting in different comparisons and seeing how things are different.
Any differences found in the inequality.is/personal section are dwarfed by the differences between the vast majority of Americans and what’s happened with wages and incomes in the top 1%
The next section, inequality.is/expensive, illustrates in a short video how regular workers are working more, making more stuff, and not reaping the rewards of their increased productivity. For users who input an annual (or hourly) wage, we let them know how much inequality can cost them, literally.
Growing inequality isn’t like the weather, it was created (perhaps we can’t keep using that analogy because it’s possible we are now creating the weather we have, but that’s an aside). The fact is that there were intentional policy decisions that created the economy we have today. That’s kind of the good news—if inequality is not some magical results of economic forces, it can be fixed.
That takes us to the last section, inequality.is/fixable. Here we take users through some of the policies, and thus solutions, to growing inequality: trade policy, tax fairness, full employment, labor standards, and financial regulation. We also take users through some policies that are not the answer. For instance, economic mobility— whether the socioeconomic status of your parents predict where you wind up with the income distribution—has only been worsened by growing inequality. We don’t have enough mobility in this country to offset the growing inequality we’ve seen. The American dream is not alive and well and everyone doesn’t have an equal shot of getting into the top 10% or even into the middle class. Those who argue that inequality is okay because there is equality of opportunity are flat out wrong.
But, there are things we can do, and this website educates and encourages further engagement with the issues and encourages the conversation to continue outside the confines of the website. That’s what we hope to accomplish.