income inequality | KUOW News and Information

income inequality

KUOW Illustration/Kara McDermott

Many white Americans believe that black Americans earn close to what their own families make. The truth is far different.

Blacks, on average, earn half of what whites do in this country.

KUOW PHOTO/MEGAN FARMER

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is leaving the door open for a write-in campaign after a Kent man drops a civil lawsuit alleging Murray sexually abused him three decades ago.

The state constitution says Seattle can't tax the rich, but the City Council still wants an income tax for people making more than $250,000 a year.

Lisa Herbold at the former Linda Manor Apartments in West Seattle’s Gatewood neighborhood.
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Seattle City Council members have released details of a proposed income tax on high-income residents.

The proposed legislation, released Monday, would levy a flat 2 percent tax on annual income above $250,000 for individuals and above $500,000 for couples filing joint taxes.  

Seattle Times FYI Guy Gene Balk
Ken Lambert

Seattle sees itself as a progressive city. Then there are those taxes ...

A nationwide study of 51 cities says Seattle is the fourth worst for taxes if you’re poor. But if you’re rich, it’s the fourth best.

Gene Balk, the data-reporting FYI Guy of the Seattle Times, wrote about the study and told KUOW's Kim Malcolm about the disparity for the poor (defined as a family of three earning $25,000).


Drego Little teaches humanities at Seattle University, and literature at Rainier Scholars, a college prep program for low-income students of color.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

Drego Little teaches literature at Rainier Scholars, a college prep program for low-income students of color, and humanities at Matteo Ricci College at Seattle University.

Little told KUOW's Ann Dornfeld that he sees literacy as the key to success in school — and in life — for disadvantaged students.

Reagan Jackson, an artist and teacher, didn't think she would participate in a 'Reparations' experiment that started in Seattle.
Michael Maine

Artist Reagan Jackson submitted a request to Seattle’s Reparations project. She explained why in this transcribed interview with KUOW's Bill Radke: 

Our country is like a war-torn nation.


The most prosperous parts of the U.S. have recovered nicely from the 2008 financial crisis, but many other places remain mired in high unemployment and poverty, according to a report measuring wealth levels by ZIP code.

"The United States is still a land of opportunity for many. But when it comes to life outcomes, geography is too often destiny," says a report from the Economic Innovation Group, a research organization.

Emily Au, right, a junior at Rainier Beach High School, walks home from school with her cousin, Rebecca Chung. Au says the walk is dangerous, and that some students skip class or show up tardy because they don't want to walk in the dark.
KUOW photo/Ann Dornfeld

When Emily Au walks to school, she worries about getting jumped – again.

Last time, it was a woman at a bus stop asking for bus fare. The woman didn’t take no for an answer.

As the Washington debate on how to reduce income inequality continues, President Obama laid out his plan in the State of the Union address. He called for universal, free community college, guaranteed paid sick leave and higher tax hikes on the wealthy.

The proposal is unlikely to pass in the new Republican-controlled House and Senate, but the speech set an agenda that both parties must now address.

Flickr Photo/victoriabernal (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich about whether Seattle's $15 an hour minimum wage will work in lessening economic inequality, and how Washington's tax system burdens the poor more than the rich.

Washington State Taxes Poor Harder Than Rich

Sep 24, 2014

Jeannie Yandel speaks with Marilyn Watkins, policy director at the Economic Opportunity Institute, and Paul Guppy, vice president for research at the Washington Policy Center, about how Washington state should amend its tax policy to be fair and competitive.

National Minimum Wage Bill Dies In The Senate

Apr 30, 2014
Flickr Photo/Andy (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Steven Sloan, deputy congressional editor for Politico, about why the federal minimum wage bill failed.

KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and his Income Inequaltiy Committee have not yet reached an agreement in raising the minimum wage.

Murray was expected to announce an initial proposal for the City Council at a press conference Thursday afternoon, but said that though the committee had reached an agreement in principle, there was not yet a viable proposal.

Flickr Photo/Caleb Knott (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Mark Long, associate professor of Public Affairs at the University of Washington, about a report that City of Seattle commissioned on the minimum wage issue. Long is a co-author of “Who Would be Affected by an Increase in Seattle’s Minimum Wage?

Mapping The Road To $15 Minimum Wage

Apr 24, 2014
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Marcie Sillman talks with Q13 Fox News political analyst, C.R. Douglas, about Mayor Ed Murray's upcoming proposal for a minimum wage hike and how Seattle got to this point.

David Cay Johnston's new book, "Divided."

David Hyde talks with investigative reporter and author David Cay Johnston about his new book, "Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality." The book comprises a collection of essays on the growing wealth gap and how economies grow while citizens get poorer.

Demonstrators in Seattle form a human chain around City Hall in support of a $15 minimum wage in April 2014.
KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is expected to announce his proposal for a minimum wage increase Thursday afternoon after his advisory committee was unable to reach a consensus.

Workers and labor activists demonstrate outside the U.S. District Courthouse in support of the city's $15 an hour minimum wage
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Ross Reynolds talks with 15 Now Campaign Manager Jess Spear about its proposed Seattle city charter amendment to change the minimum wage to $15.

Then, Marcie Sillman checks in with political analyst C.R. Douglas of Q13 Fox News about the politics behind the $15 minimum wage movement and what we can expect looking forward.

Flickr/401 (K) 2012 (CC BY-NC-ND)

Steve Scher and Ross Reynolds talk with guests and listeners about raising the minimum wage in Seattle to $15.

Guests include Gea Bassett, owner of Green Cleaning Seattle Eco-Maid Services, and Matt Galvin, co-owner of Pagliacci Pizza.

State lawmakers adjourn in Olympia, Seattle's $15 minimum wage gets more scrutiny and President Obama tries comedy to pitch the Affordable Care Act to young Americans. 

Steve Scher reviews these stories and more with Eli Sanders of The Stranger, news analyst Joni Balter, Crosscut's Knute Berger and Livewire host Luke Burbank.

Flickr Photo/401(K) 2012 (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with economist David Neumark at the University of California, Irvine, about what key issues Seattle needs to address before raising its minimum wage.

KUOW Photo/Deborah Wang

Residents of Seattle should know in the next few months whether low-wage workers in the city will get a raise. Mayor Ed Murray is hoping to unveil a proposal by late spring that would increase the minimum wage in the city to as much as $15 an hour.

Washington Speaker of the House Frank Chopp supports a minimum wage hike, but he says the issue wasn’t ready for a vote on the House floor this year.

Flickr Photo/Steve Johnson (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Austin Jenkins about a proposal to raise the minimum wage for state employees and other news from Olympia. 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Facebook Photo/Governor Jay Inslee

President Obama recently ordered a minimum wage increase for federal contractors. Now Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he may consider a similar executive order at the state level.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle are staging demonstrations at fast-food restaurants across the city Thursday.

Flickr Photo/Caleb Knott (CC BY-NC-ND)

David Hyde talks with Publicola's Erica C. Barnett about the latest on a proposed minimum wage hike for Seattle. This week the Income Inequality Advisory Committee, made up of 25 local business and labor leaders, has been examining the issue in closed-door meetings.

Flickr Photo/Tax Credits (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution about a new study of the gap between the rich and poor in America's big cities.

Flickr Photo/401(K) 2012 (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire and conservative activist, about why he thinks Republicans and the nation as a whole would benefit from a $12 minimum wage.

Workers and labor activists demonstrate outside the U.S. District Courthouse in support of the city's $15 an hour minimum wage
KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Ross Reynolds talks with Howard Wright, co-chair of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's Income Inequality Advisory Committee, about the status of its proposal to the mayor.

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