January 15, 2013

According to data from the Census Bureau Maine ranks fourth amongst all the states where the highest income inequality has increased at a faster rate than other states. Maine, West Virginia and California are the states where the wealth gap is expanding fastest.

The income gap between the richest and poorest residents of 20 states increased last year. All thirty other states with income gaps saw no increase in the disparity. No state saw significant decreases in their levels of income inequality. The LePage administration’s policies of cutting services and giving the wealthiest 1 percent of Mainers a tax break while not investing in education, transportation, research and development programs and innovation has added to this income disparity.

The wealth held by the top 400 Americans, which is 2 percent, is more than the combined wealth of the bottom 150 million, according to economist and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. For the first time since the Clinton Administration the top 2 percent’s tax rates will increase. President Barack Obama returned the rates for the wealthiest 2 percent to the same levels President Clinton had, which helped the nation experience surpluses. The economy did well and income disparity was considerably less.

According to a Huffington Post article inequality in the U.S. has gotten so bad that a recent study found that it is now worse than in 1774, even accounting for slavery, and even worse than during the Roman Empire.