Assessing Inequality, Mobility, and Opportunity

Testimony Before the Senate Committee on the Budget

SOURCE: Center for American Progress

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the Senate Committee on the Budget. Read the testimony (CAP Action).

Thank you Chairman Conrad and Sen. Sessions for inviting me here to testify today. My name is Heather Boushey and I’m a Senior Economist with the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

A robust and expanding middle class was the engine that transformed the United States into the strongest economy in the world. Our middle class is today threatened by mounting income inequality and a tax code rigged to favor the rich. In my brief comments I will lay out how focusing on building a strong middle class is a necessary condition to establishing a vibrant, competitive, and stable economy.

My colleagues will discuss how high inequality has become in the United States and how the rungs on the economic-mobility ladder have become farther apart. This kind of inequality is not only bad for the 99 percent who’ve been left behind; it is actually responsible for some of the biggest problems facing Americans today—high home foreclosures, high unemployment, a low pace of business investment, and an inability to get ahead.

The analysis I will describe to you today is based on an in-depth, ongoing project at the Center for American Progress, where we are bringing together the economic evidence showing how a strong middle class and inequality at levels below what we currently have in the United States will enable everyone to have a fair shot, while encouraging and supporting the competitiveness of our firms and the strength of our economy.

CAP Senior Economist Heather Boushey testifies before the Senate Committee on the Budget. Read the testimony (CAP Action).