Growing Income Gap Hurts U.S. Economy, Economists Say

Categories: Budget

The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn’t bad just for individuals. It’s hurting the U.S. economy.

So says a majority of more than three dozen economists surveyed last week by The Associated Press.

A key source of the economists’ concern: Higher pay and outsize stock market gains are flowing mainly to affluent Americans. Yet these households spend less of their money than do low- and middle-income consumers who make up most of the population but whose pay is barely rising.

Spending by wealthier Americans, given the weight of their dollars, does help drive the economy. But analysts say the economy would be better able to sustain its growth if the riches were more evenly dispersed. For one thing, a plunge in stock prices typically leads wealthier Americans to cut sharply back on their spending.

AFGE supports increasing the minimum wage and reforming the tax system so the top 1% of earners pay at least as much in taxes as the bottom 99%. AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. has repeatedly called on Congress to shift its focus from slashing spending on federal programs and services to generating economic growth by creating jobs, investing in infrastructure and closing tax loopholes that benefit corporations that outsource jobs overseas.

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