After President Obama called income inequality “the defining challenge of our time” in a speech last December, it has become a topic of political discussion. Just today, Standard & Poors issued a report that income inequality is slowing the recovery from the great recession. According to The Hill,
The rating agency said Tuesday that it had trimmed its economic outlook for the U.S. in part due to the record discrepancy between the wealthy and the poor. Five years ago, the rater anticipated 2.8 percent economic growth, and has now trimmed it to 2.5 percent.
“At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold,” the agency warned.
Over at Citylab, they took a look at how much income inequality has increased due to the recession, and here in Georgia, it appears to have grown.
In the map at right, darker blue areas indicate more income inequality.
The study shows income inequality grew in large metro areas, including Atlanta, where it increased by 6%. But the study notes some of the largest increases occurred in smaller cities, including Dalton. The study points out that the GINI coefficient used to measure income inequality rose above .5 in Albany and Athens. These two cities are among 19 metro areas in the U.S. where the measure of inequality is over .5, indicating a larger difference between those earning the most and those earning the least.
Is income inequality in Georgia and the United States a problem? If it is, what can we do about it? Discuss in the comments.