ECONOMICS


Today we have the highest income inequality in America since the 1920's, the so-called "Gilded Age." It is time for the rich to pay their fair share in our society.



What is the problem?

Since the 1970's, the incomes of the bottom 90% of earners have essentially been flat! All the while, the incomes of the top 1% have skyrocketed.


The result is the highest income inequality in America since the 1920's, the so-called "Gilded Age." The concentration of wealth among a few families stifles innovation in the economy, as reduced access to capital prevents entrepreneurship.

The lack of income growth for the bottom 90% is NOT due to a lack of effort. Today income earners work longer hours and are more productive than ever. Yet, their hard work has not been rewarded with real income growth.

Illinois' tax structure is one of the most regressive in the nation. Because the state has one of the lowest income tax rates, local and state governments must rely on property and sales taxes to pay for public goods in our state. Taxes on property and consumption unfairly burden the poor because assets like homes are a much bigger portion of a working family's wealth.

The average income tax of the 5 states surrounding Illinois is 6.4% (our income tax is 3.75%).

The average property tax of the 5 states surrounding Illinois is 1.2% (our property tax is 2.32%).

Solutions

  • End Illinois' reliance on property and sales taxes, and hold the rich accountable: freeze and reduce sales and property taxes, increase the income tax on the rich.
  • We must also enact a tax on Wall Street speculators. Breaking up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail.
  • The gap between CEO pay and the wages of the median employee in a company is at record high levels, and far above the levels in other industrialized countries. Excessive executive pay is deservedly blamed for rising income inequality, because worker pay has stagnated as executive pay has soared.
  • The current federal minimum wage is starvation pay and must become a living wage. We must increase it to $15 an hour over the next several years.
  • Today, the youth unemployment rate is 17% (and 27% for young African Americans). We support the Employ Young Americans Now Act, which will create 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program.
  • Social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, make billions in profits from selling advertisers access to your content. Why should these companies be allowed to profit from your creativity? We support a program modeled after Google AdSense, which would require social media networks to share ad revenue with content creators.
  • Today millions of workers are stuck in bad jobs because they need their employer provided health care. Guaranteeing health care as a right to all Americans will allow workers more freedom to leave bad working conditions and to demand better wages.
  • Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act.
  • Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.

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