News Release

“Prosperity and Progress”?

Inequalities, Health-Care Coverage, Estate Tax

CHARLES ANDREWS
The author of the forthcoming From Capitalism to Equality, Andrews said today: “Before we celebrate the economy’s alleged prosperity and progress, we should tally the exhaustion it is causing. The average husband-and-wife family works six hours today for every five hours worked in 1979. The percentage of employees who work 49 hours a week or more rose from 13 percent in 1976 to 20 percent today. If there is a bit of prosperity today in our role as consumers, the deeper truth is that today’s economy consumes people’s lives.”

SARA NICHOLS
National spokesperson for Neighbor to Neighbor, Nichols said today: “In 1992 — during a recession — there were 37.4 million Americans without health insurance, according to the Census Department. By 1998, it was 44.3 million. Even in this so-called ‘booming’ economy, the number of Americans without health insurance is at record levels and continues to climb. A recent World Health Organization report found the U.S. health-care system first by far in costs, but 37th in performance. We have higher infant mortality than many countries…our health-care system is an international disgrace. While large corporations have been exporting their jobs overseas, most of the new jobs in the U.S. are in small businesses and only 25 percent of small businesses provide health insurance.”
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CHUCK COLLINS
Co-director of United for a Fair Economy and co-author of the new book Economic Apartheid in America, Collins said today: “In 1990, median income was $11.54 per hour; in 1999 it was $11.88…. Now many are moving to eliminate or reduce the estate tax, but it is one of the best tools we have to slow the ‘trickle-up’ of wealth to the super-rich. Since 1983, the top 1 percent of Americans have seen their wealth grow by 42 percent, while the net worth of the bottom 40 percent has fallen by an astonishing 76 percent. The estate tax was passed in 1916 as a populist reform to ensure that wealth would not become concentrated in a few hands. The recent House vote to repeal it spurned this populist principle, instead giving a blatant thank-you gift to their major campaign contributors.”
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ARTHUR MacEWAN
Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and author of Neoliberalism or Democracy?, MacEwan said today: “We’re much more unequal than countries in Western Europe or Japan. The U.S. is twice as rich as Spain, yet the bottom fifth in Spain are about as well off as the bottom fifth in the U.S…. Over the long run, there is no connection between periods when we’ve had low taxes for the rich and economic growth.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167