Articles on Income inequality

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Forida, who earns about 35 cents (AUD) an hour as a garment worker, subsists on watery rice when her family’s money runs out so her son may eat better. GMB Akash/Panos/OxfamAUS

There are many good ideas to tackle inequality – it’s time we acted on them

We wear the evidence of extreme inequality – clothing made by workers in Bangladesh for 35 cents an hour. But we know how to reduce inequality – we just have to do it.
Some countries seem to provide more equitable opportunities in schools and society in general. Others have work to do if they want to advance the adage that hard work and education afford success regardless of one’s existing social status. www.shutterstock.com

Education does not always equal social mobility

Conventional wisdom across much of the Western world says there's a strong link between education and upward social mobility. Really?
The fact that parents may be physically absent from schools does not mean they are disinterested in their children’s academic and professional success. Muhammad Rizwan/Unsplash

Too busy for the PTA, but working-class parents care

Working class parents may be too busy to attend high school events, but they take an active role in their children's success.
A forest fire works its way through a wooded area in Saskatchewan in May 2018. High-income nations have benefitted enormously from fossil fuels and the wealthy should now foot the bill to combat climate change. Joanne Francis/Unsplash

A wealth tax forces those responsible for climate change to pay for it

A wealth tax would put a price on past emissions and could be used to mitigate the negative effects of poverty, including vulnerability to climate change.
Workers’ falling share of national income is helping to fuel the trade union campaign to ‘change the rules’. Dan Himbrechts/AAP

To tackle inequality, we must start in the labour market

While government payments and programs go some way to reducing inequality, the transformation of the labour market and its institutions has cut workers' share of the pie to historic lows.
Unions, which traditionally protected wages at the bottom end, are starting to tap into community anger at the wealth flowing to the top end of town. Mick Tsikas/AAP

The fair go is a fading dream, but don’t write it off

This is the first article in a series, Reclaiming the Fair Go, to mark the awarding of the 2018 Sydney Peace Prize to Nobel laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz.
The housing boom increased wealth gains for affluent households while rising housing costs undermined income gains for less affluent households. Sam Mooy/AAP

How the housing boom has driven rising inequality

The Productivity Commission neglected the impact of housing costs. After allowing for these costs, the top 10% of households' average disposable income grew at 2.7 times the rate of the bottom 10%.
Households feeling the pinch from frozen wages feeds into slower economic growth, and policymakers need to find a solution. Bacho/Shutterstock

This is what policymakers can and can’t do about low wage growth

Governments can't undo the technological changes behind frozen wages and rising inequality. The best policy is to invest in education and training to give workers skills of value in the new economy.
The gulf between what Domino’s CEO Don Meij earned in 2017, A$36.8 million, and those who deliver the pizzas is extraordinary, so is the CEO worth that much? Paul Miller/AAP

CEO pay is more about white male entitlement than value for money

The evidence suggests the impact of CEOs on company performance isn't enough to justify their sky-high pay, which is really based more on a culture of power and privilege.
The big global cities might be engines of growth but are also where the deepest troughs of poverty and injustice are found. Jorge CMS/Shutterstock

Aim for cities of all sizes to give everyone a fair go

The largest cities in Australia and the US are both the richest and the most likely to push out low-income earners. Having cities of all sizes will increase people's choices of where to live and work.
Forecasting income tax a decade into the future is a tricky proposition. AAP Image/Joel Carrett

The Coalition’s income tax cuts will help the rich more, but in a decade everyone pays more anyway

The income tax cuts in the 2018 federal budget are likely to be modestly regressive, giving high earners a lower share of the overall tax burden. But by 2028 income tax will be higher across the board.

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