Missing from the national debate
Bill Moyers, as he often does, raised an issue recently that is mostly missing from this year’s presidential debate, the stunning and still growing income inequality in the United States.
Watch his interview with Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone and journalist Chrystia Freeland, author of “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.”
Here’s the first revealing question and answer from the transcript.
BILL MOYERS: Income inequality has soared to the highest level since the Great Depression, with the top one percent taking 93 percent of the income earned in the first year after the recovery, the first full year after the recovery. Why are the two candidates not talking about inequality growing at breakneck speed?
CHRYSTIA FREELAND: You know, I think because it is still a taboo in American political life and in American cultural life. One of the economists I talk to he works for the World Bank. And he said to me, you know, and he’s a specialist in income inequality.
And he said, “When you go to think tanks you say you’d like to do a study about poverty, they say, ‘That’s fine. That’s great. We’re happy to fund it,’ because writing about poverty makes everybody feel good and feel that they’re being charitable and beneficent. But if you say, ‘Actually, I want to study income inequality,’ and even most dangerously, ‘I want to study what’s happening at the very top of the distribution,” what Branko Milanovi? said to me is the think tanks immediately pull away because they say, “Our donors won’t like it.”