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Reforming the Federal Sweatshop

Huffington Post

The White House is holding a summit Monday, June 23 on working families. The summit is intended to call attention to the fact that President Obama wants to raise wages and job opportunities for working Americans, especially for working women. This is a welcome initiative, though there is a great deal that the President could do by executive order without waiting for a deadlocked Congress to act.

The grotesque income inequality in our economy has at last some in for some overdue attention. For the vast majority of working Americans, there is only one source of income -- wages and salaries.

Since the late 1970s, earnings for most working people have been flat, while the economy's productivity and the pay of corporate and financial industry executives has soared. The pattern only worsened after 2000.

Trends that were unacceptable long before the financial collapse of 2008 have intensified in five years of a feeble recovery. About 95 percent of the economy's income gains during the past three years have gone to the top one percent.