Congressional negotiators reached a deal yesterday to reconcile the House and Senate versions of financial regulatory reform. The bill contains an obscure provision “that requires any publicly traded company that uses certain minerals to file reports annually with the Securities and Exchange Commission certifying whether the minerals originated in Congo or neighboring countries.” Many of the minerals used in electronic devices like cell phones and computers are mined in the Congo, a country “plagued by regional conflict and a deadly scramble for its vast natural resources.”
The gaps in after-tax income between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the middle and poorest fifths of the country more than tripled between 1979 and 2007 (the period for which these data are available), according to data the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued last week. Taken together with prior research, the new data suggest greater income concentration at the top of the income scale than at any time since 1928.
While the recession that began in December 2007 likely reduced the income of the wealthiest Americans substantially and may thereby shrink the income gap between rich and poor households, a similar development that occurred around the bursting of the dot.com bubble and the 2001 recession turned out to be just a speed bump. Incomes at the top more than made up the lost ground from 2003 to 2005.
Critically-acclaimed Hollywood Director Oliver Stone dropped by our studio for a Brave New Conversation, where I spoke with him about his latest documentary South of the Border, scheduled to be released in more than 30 countries this month. South of the Border begins by exploring the role that the corporate-owned mainstream media in the U.S. and Venezuela have played in shaping American’s perspectives on South America, beginning with clips of the attempted coup on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. In the Brave New Conversation, Stone describes the South American press…
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