Income Inequality Dominates the National Conversation

This week, Oxfam released a new report that estimates that the combined wealth of the richest one percent will exceed that of the 99 percent next year unless actions are taken to curb inequality.
The report, titled Wealth: Having It All and Wanting More, shows that the wealthy few increased their global wealth from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014. Based on this trend, the combined wealth of the richest one percent is expected to be more than 50 percent in 2016. The report also notes that just 80 of the wealthiest people in the world possess a combined wealth of $1.9 trillion, which is nearly the same amount shared by 3.5 billion people, or the poorest 50 percent of the global population. The list of the 80 wealthiest people in the world includes members of the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart empire.
Also this week, President Obama delivered his sixth State of the Union address, which focused on income inequality and the need to rebuild America’s shrinking middle class. President Obama unveiled a number of proposals aimed at strengthening working and middle class Americans. The proposals include strengthening unions and building more worker protections, such as maternity leave and seven days of sick leave for all; two free years of community college; tax breaks to working and middle class families; and affordable, high quality childcare for working parents.
Income inequality is the biggest crisis facing our country, and the Retail Justice Alliance urges the 114th Congress to act now and narrow the wealth gap by supporting the president’s proposals.