If you followed Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign last year, you know the basics about inequality in America. This country is the world’s richest overall, but it also has one of the planet’s largest gaps between rich and poor. Today, the top 1 percent controls nearly 40 percent of America’s wealth. Much of the economic policy debate in America is revolves around wages and jobs. But on this episode, researcher Matt Bruenig says something much more systemic is going on — he argues that the real issue is capital. He notes that today, almost a third of all the income produced in the United States comes not from day-to-day hard work, but from earnings off capital — basically, earnings off real estate, stocks and debt. Bruenig has just launched the new People’s Policy Project — a grassroots funded think tank looking to infuse the public policy debate with more radical solutions to economic inequality. During our discussion, we talked about Democratic politicians’ aversion to confronting economic inequality, the intensifying fight over single-payer health care and how lawmakers can tackle the unequal distribution of capital.

 

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