July 24, 2018

Income inequality at a glance

The Economic Policy Institute recently released a study that measures income inequality in the US and in each state. Specifically, it measures the difference between the income of the wealthiest 1 percent versus the bottom 99.

 If you have a minute, check out this chart about US numbers (spoiler: the wealthiest 1 percent makes 26.3 times more than the bottom 90 percent).

In West Virginia, the top 1 percent brings home 15.3 times more than the rest. Our lower numbers reflect a shortage of wealthy people here. Or, if you want to look at the bright side, we rank 47th among states, i.e. we're one of the more equal.

The only states with lower numbers are Iowa (48), Hawaii (49), and Alaska (50). For what it's worth, New York state has the highest level of inequality using this measure. You can check out the full report here and look up other states here.

Wherever you look, though, the gap is too big.

July 22, 2018

Through the WV Looking Glass

As if these times weren't trippy enough, I decided to listen to Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. Although taken as a whole it didn't seem to hang together as tightly as Alice in Wonderland, it does contain some of my favorites from the master of trippiness, including The Jabberwocky, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the walrus and the carpenter and such.

A little trippiness these days may be necessary in order to follow West Virginia politics, from the impeachment hearings about the WV Supreme Court mess to state senate president Mitch Carmichael's bizarre twitter storm accusing WV teachers of supporting an "Obama-styled socialist agenda. "

Among the items on this alleged pinko agenda were universal health care, child care for working parents and debt-free higher education. More than one commentator has pointed out that Carmichael himself was leading the charge on a free community college bill earlier this year.

I'm not sure what Carmichael was thinking since he didn't gain a whole lot of popularity points during the WV teachers' strike--and then had the gumption to claim credit for the pay raise he tried to squelch.

My friend and twitter warrior Sean O'Leary had this to say about that,

"Just woke up from a terrifying nightmare where all West Virginians had health insurance, could go to college without going into debt, and all children had quality childcare while their parents worked."

All told, things are pretty brillig here and the slithy toves are gyring and gimbling in the wabe.