Sort by

Unequal Political Voice Undermines Economic Mobility

Last week, I had the honor to testify in the Senate on Demos' core mission: the intersection of economic and political inequality.

I joined Senator Jeff Merkley's Economic Policy Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, where I had a noteworthy back-and-forth with Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the topic of workers' share of corporate earnings. You can see her question, and my response, in the video below, and can scroll down for my opening remarks.

Throughout the hearing, Sen. Merkley emphasized that, as economic inequality is dimming the lights on the American dream, political inequality illustrates why our elected officials haven't taken action. This is a testament to the growing importance of Demos' work.

As I explained to the Senators, a cashier making $7.25 an hour can buy $7.25 an hour worth of food for her family and $7.25 an hour worth of education for her children, but she also seems to only merit $7.25 worth of esteem in our political culture, and most dangerously, only $7.25 worth of voice in our democracy.

The good news is this: policy choices have brought us here, and different ones can lead us out. In the 20th century, America placed a bet on our people, and those public investments unleashed an economic force that changed the world. Today, the most diverse generation in history is ready for that same commitment—commitment to the human capacity within all of us, and to the most American idea: that we all deserve an equal say and an equal chance.

You can watch my opening remarks below, and read the full testimony here.