On Wednesday, October 20, 2014, EPI economist Elise Gould will be discussing the topic of income inequality in an Intelligence Squared debate. The resolution under consideration: Income inequality impairs the the American dream of upward mobility.
For the motion
- Elise Gould
Senior Economist and Dir. of Health Policy Research, Economic Policy Institute
- Nick Hanauer
Entrepreneur & Venture Capitalist
Against the motion
- Edward Conard
Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute & Former Partner, Bain Capital
- Scott Winship
Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Income inequality has been on the rise for decades. In the last 30 years, the wages of the top 1% have grown by 154%, while the bottom 90% has seen growth of only 17%. As the rungs of the economic ladder move further and further apart, conventional wisdom says that it will become much more difficult to climb them. Opportunities for upward mobility—the American dream—will disappear as the deck becomes stacked against the middle class and the poor. But others see inequality as a positive, a sign of a dynamic and robust economy that, in the end, helps everyone. And contrary to public opinion, mobility has remained stable over the past few decades. If the American dream is dying, is it the result of income inequality? Or is disparity in income a red herring where more complex issues are at play?