The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Economic Equality Event Re-Scheduled for Early 2016; & Poll on Economic Inequality

Posted on September 18, 2015 at 01:26 PM

The Economic Equality Coalition conference in Washington, DC is re-scheduled from November, 2015 to early next year–approximately early April, due to two reasons beyond our control. We will still move forward with all the goals and issues, but we have to change the timing.

As we have frequently discussed before, the Delta Grassroots Caucus is joining forces with similarly situated regions in Appalachia, the Southwest Border, the Midwest, and several economically distressed urban areas to urge the national powers that be to take more effective action in reducing economic inequality.

Members of Congress, the front-running Presidential campaigns and grassroots leaders from across the country are the key participants.

Let us emphasize that the responses across the country to the invitations for this event have been profoundly encouraging, we are committed to working harder than ever for it, and this is just a re-scheduling to a clearly more advantageous time. We want to be sure and include you for the revised dates.

We are planning other smaller-scale activities along with our daily advocacy activities

In this issue:

I. Re-Scheduling of Economic Equality Conference in Washington, DC

II. Surprising Results of a major Economic Inequality Survey from Distinguished Group of Business Leaders

I. Re-Scheduling of Economic Equality Coalition and Delta Grassroots Caucus conference on gender, racial and economic equality in Washington, DC:

First, unfortunately one of our key organizers just received a report from his doctor indicating a health issue that will require treatments and a much lighter workload for about the next 8 to 12 weeks, depending on how the process goes. The board of directors and other senior advisers do not believe it would be the best choice to go forward without a key organizer who has been heavily involved in this for so many months. It is not life-threatening and is curable with rest and treatments.

Secondly, one of the major objectives of the Economic Equality Coalition conference is to weigh in with the front-running Presidential campaigns of both parties about our key issues. But having spent a great deal of time working with many campaigns, we would have to include at least 9 or 10 of them. Even then we would risk alienating a few others who believe they should be included. Even by November it may still be difficult to determine who the “front-runners” are.

By early spring, the viable candidates will have thinned out greatly. With about four candidates likely remaining by then, we can do the kind of substantive dialogue with ample time for each participant that we prefer for these kind of events. We do this every Presidential cycle and the top campaigns typically send governors or Members of Congress, and these have been excellent sessions in the past.

Even if we keep it to 9 or 10 high-level campaign speakers, it is difficult to find adequate time on the program for our substantive orientation. We are not like Fox TV where they are just looking for sound-bytes or “gotcha” moments, and each candidate only makes a few brief comments.

Conducting a major conference when the organizers would not be at full strength, and when the timing will be better in any event somewhat later, indicated a clearcut choice in favor of re-scheduling.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Hotel reservations can be cancelled without charge. The earlier dates are still almost two months away and few people have made travel arrangements yet. If you have already bought airfare, we hope they can be transferred. Please advise us if there is any difficulty on that score. We will be back with the revised dates as soon as we have them.

We have contacted many distinguished leaders across the country for this conference and we will ask all of those who previously committed to coming to participate at the April, 2016 conference. Again we apologize for any inconvenience.

II. Results of a Major Survey of Economic Inequality: Even the Economic Elite-Harvard Business School Alumni-Express Deep Concern about Economic Inequality

It’s not news when working people in the Greater Delta, Appalachia, the Southwest Border or distressed areas in the Midwest express raise deep objections to America’s increasing inequality.

But a recent survey said that the great majority of Harvard Business School alumni-the elite of the elite who are overhelwmingly part of the top 1%–expressed grave concern about income inequality and poverty.

We are seeing a widespread regional as well as national upsurge in concerns over economic inequality, and this is one of the most interesting results. This gives us an opportunity to rattle cages of the national powers that be and urge them to take effective action in fighting economic inequality and poverty.

The 2015 Survey on US Competitiveness polled 2,700 Harvard Business School alumni and found that the great majority of them believe that income inequality is a serious threat to the country and to their businesses.

These results were published in the Associated Press, Fortune, the New York Times, Washington Post and other national media, albeit coverage (for whatever reason) tended to be on the back pages of these publications.

Two thirds of the group said the top priority for America now should be addressing the rising inequality, middle-class stagnation, rising poverty, and limited economic mobility. Only one third said speeding up economic growth should be the top economic priority.

There was a rising concern about poverty, and not just the plight of the middle class: 45% said that rising poverty levels could hurt their businesses. Respondents said that ultimately, greater economic inequality could reduce demand for their products, hurt social stability, and provoke a backlash against successful companies.

Despite the widespread concern, there was a reality check in one result: one third of them said that despite the concerns about inequality and the gradually recovering economy, they still thought many companies would not increase pay and benefit for their workers. This was due to concern that shareholders would resist pay and benefit raises because their stock holdings would not be as profitable if higher salaries and benefits raise costs and decrease profits.

We would urge shareholders–and should put constructive public pressure on them, and that includes many of us in our coalition–to think big: economic equality will promote general national prosperity, and their bank accounts as well as everyone else’s will see long-term benefit.

Below are the results of their projections of income distribution today, as opposed to the distribution that these wealthy businessmen would prefer as better for the long-term health of the economy, according to a summary of the survey by Harvard professors Jan Rivkin, Michael Porter, and Harvard Business School Senior Fellow Karen Mills.

(NOTE: Other surveys actually have the income distribution as even more skewed to the highest earners. For example, Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez concludes that the top 1% captured 55% of total real income growth 1993 to 2014.

The inequality trend has been even worse in the last five years, when the top 1% made 58% of the income gains during the 2009-2014 economic recovery, according to Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez.

Survey of Harvard Business Alumni on their preferred estimates for sound income distribution as opposed to current projected distribution:

1.Current as opposed to broadly beneficial distributions for Top 1%:

Richest 1% have 41%

Preferred distribution for Top 1%:


2. Current as opposed to broadly beneficial distributions of next richest 20%

Next richest 20% have 23%

Preferred distribution of next richest 20%:


3. Current as opposed to broadly beneficial distribution of second richest 20%

Second richest 20% have 17%

Preferred distribution of second richest 20%


4. Current as opposed to broadly beneficial distribution of third richest 20%

Third richest 20% have 9%

Preferred distribution of third richest 20%


5. Current distribution as opposed to broadly beneficial distribution of fourth richest 20%

Fourth richest 20% have 7%

Preferred distribution of fourth richest 20%


6. Current as opposed to broadly beneficial distribution of poorest 20%

Poorest 20% have 5%

Preferred ditribution of poorest 20%


Please note that this assessment would involve substantial improvements for the lower 60% of income groups, about the same for the second richest 20%, and substantial reductions in the total percentage for the top 19% and especially top 1%.

That being said, this is not exactly a “radical” recommendation, because the top 1% would still make 16 times more than their numbers would indicate.

It’s still a step forward. As late as 2012 the National Review was calling the undeniable trend toward greater income inequality a “myth.”

In 2012, Mitt Romney’s call for across-the-board tax cuts would have gone mostly to the wealthy in total dollar terms. That point of view was obviously not accepted then and is even more archaic today. This is not partisan because many Republicans as well as Democrats today express concern about economic inequality.