CHAPTER 12

The Fight against Income Inequality

From Huey Long to Occupy Wall Street

Many popular expressions about income inequality from the past century (e.g., “We are the 99%,” “Share the wealth,” “A chicken in every pot”) have enjoyed the public limelight at some point or another. And while each may reflect a different political, economic, and social climate, they all represent a battle cry heard far and wide through the decades.

The income inequality movement—emerging in the Progressive era of the early 1900s and reappearing in 2011—has campaigned to ask society to look under the glossy sheen of the “world’s wealthiest country” and instead see an economy that appears to be stacked against the vast majority of citizens. The movement points ...

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