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Income Inequality in America

WHEREAS:

            Income inequality is increasing as economic, social, racial and governance problems have contributed to a widening gap between America’s “haves,” “have nots,” and those who have it all; and

WHEREAS:

            America’s wealth inequality is enormous.  The richest 10 percent own 75.4 percent of all wealth; and

WHEREAS:

            America’s income inequality has reached historic levels.  In 2012, the top 10 percent of America’s earners earned more than 50 percent of our nation’s total income and the top one percent earned 22.5 percent, which is their highest share since 1928; and

WHEREAS:

            Economic mobility in America is significantly lower than in most other developed nations; and

WHEREAS:

            Increasing inequality of income and wealth are a result of politics and policy choices that have undermined labor unions, pressured other nations into a downward cycle and weakened safeguards protecting workers, the environment and social and cultural traditions; and

WHEREAS:

            The combination of economic decisions and decades of poor policy decisions has hollowed out America’s domestic manufacturing sector, decimated the private sector unions that drove American middle class growth and security, and increased the financial sector’s rapid expansion; and

WHEREAS:

            Wealth and income inequality are bad for our economy and bad for democratic participation in our governance; and


 

WHEREAS:

            President Obama has taken a strong public stance against income and wealth inequality.  He has pointed out that average CEO earnings grew from 20 to 30 times more than the average worker’s income to 273 times more. A family in the top one percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is an all-time record for America; and

WHEREAS:

            President Obama described the growing inequality problem in America by saying, “the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed…and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people”; and

WHEREAS:

            Large profitable multinational corporations, business trade associations and the wealthiest two percent advocate numerous proposals to lower tax rates, preserve and expand tax loopholes for corporations and investment income, and reduce their overall share of federal taxes.  These regressive tax proposals would further worsen America’s income and wealth inequality.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME condemns America’s income and wealth inequality and supports constructive efforts to promote greater equality, opportunity and mobility; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME stands with President Obama and his focus on raising awareness of and reducing income and wealth inequality; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            One step to reduce inequality is to close tax loopholes that encourage corporations to ship jobs and profits overseas and seek to restore our domestic manufacturing sector.  Our tax policies should focus on the prosperity and well-being of America’s workers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            The excesses of the financial sector must be restrained so that industry may again serve our broader economy and not promote toxic financial instruments. A Wall Street speculation and transaction tax should be levied to reduce the volume of risky high frequency trading and unproductive profit-seeking.  A Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee should be levied on the largest financial institutions to reign in these “too big to fail” firms; and


 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            Tax laws should impose the same tax rate on investors’ income as on workers’ wages. Similarly, the Buffet Rule should be codified so that millionaires pay at least the same tax rate as their assistants.  Estate tax laws should be strengthened so that, at a minimum, tax rates and exemptions are restored to the levels that existed before they were weakened by legislation signed by President George W. Bush; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:

            We must ensure the wealthiest two percent, large profitable corporations, and Wall Street financiers, that all benefitted significantly from past misguided economic policies, pay a fair share of taxes. The resulting revenues should be invested in creating good jobs in America; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED:

            That AFSCME will continue to advocate for laws and policies supporting fairer distributions of wealth and income in America, including initiatives to strengthen labor unions and workplace rights.  AFSCME will advocate for livable wages, better and more secure benefits, fairer trade policies and a stronger public sector.


SUBMITTED BY:     Kathryn Lybarger, President and Delegate

                                    Ruben Santos, Secretary-Treasurer and Delegate

                                    AFSCME Local 3299

                                    California

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