26 September 2019   Leave a comment

The US Census Bureau has released a report that indicates that income inequality in the US is greater than at any time over the last 50 years. The report shows that overall incomes grew last year but that the incomes of the rich rose substantially because of the tax cuts of 2017 and the incomes of the very poor did not rise much at all. The economic effects of these changes affected different regions of the US in different ways. According to the Associated Press:

“The areas with the most income inequality last year were coastal regions with large amounts of wealth — the District of Columbia, New York and Connecticut — as well as areas with great poverty: Puerto Rico and Louisiana.

“Utah, Alaska, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota had the most economic equality.

“Three of the states with the biggest gains in inequality from 2017 to 2018 were places with large pockets of wealth: California, Texas and Virginia. But the other six states were primarily in the heartland: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire and New Mexico.”

Even though incomes for all groups rose last year, the increase was not significant. The Washington Post reports: ” Though the gap between the richest and poorest expanded, the nation’s median household income topped $63,000 for the first time. However, after adjusting for inflation, it’s roughly the same as it was 20 years ago.” What is most troubling about the report is that this expansion of income inequality occurred after 10 years of consecutive GDP growth and historically low unemployment. “Trickle-down” does not seem to be trickling down.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is planning another appeal to the international community on the issue of Kashmir. The appeal comes because India stripped Kashmir of its special status in the Indian constitution, sparking fears in Pakistan that India intended to flood Kashmir with Hindus, changing the demographic character of the region. Khan’s appeal comes as pressures in Kashmir are growing for a confrontation with India. According to Reuters:

“Khan has appealed to Kashmiris to give him the chance to sway the international community and he is scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, but patience appears to be in short supply in Pakistani Kashmir.

“’We are all waiting for the United Nations…to see if the world can help us. Otherwise, we will try to break the LOC border,’ said Habib Urhman Afaqi, the president of the Jamaat-e-Islami political party for the district of Kotli, near the LOC. He said tens of thousands of men around the region were organizing by word of mouth and social media.

“’We are preparing people, emotionally, and collectively we will be ready to fight on 27 September,’ Afaqi said.”

Pakistan faces an uphill battle as the US has firmly sided with India and its Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Khan’s rhetoric has made several references to the fact that both India and Pakistan are nuclear-armed powers.

Posted September 26, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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