At Rosie’s Place, we are committed to addressing income inequality in Massachusetts and to supporting and helping to build social movements for greater equality. Today, the top one percent of our society holds 24% of the total wealth in the country. This is the most intense concentration of wealth at the top of the ladder since 1929.
The gap between Massachusetts's richest and poorest households is the 8th highest in the nation, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute. Poverty is a particularly far reaching problem for women and girls, who make up more than half the people living in poverty in the United States. In Massachusetts, one of every seven children lives below the poverty line. That amounts to over 200,000 children statewide. Being poor shortens your life expectancy, and harms both your physical and mental health. At Rosie’s Place, we see this damage all the time.
According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based economic think tank made up of 34 countries (including the U.S.), income inequality stifles economic growth. Read the report here. As income inequality grows, there is an increase of layoffs and job instability, stagnant wages, insecure pensions and a more volatile stock market. Individuals are forced to work longer hours, afforded less time with family and force to spend more on housing, health care, education, utilities and food.
Rosie’s Place supports strategies to reduce wealth and income inequality. We support lifting the floor for lower income people. The Scholars Strategy Network proposes multiple ways to reduce income inequality in Massachusetts, from raising the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit, to increasing the supply of housing and streamlining benefit applications. Learn more about their ideas here.
In 2014, Rosie’s Place, as part of its commitment to equal pay for women and livable wages for all workers, supported the ballot initiative to establish earned sick time for workers throughout the state. We were proud to be a part of this successful effort, and see that it's beginning to make a difference.
Today, we are a part of the Raise Up Coalition, which aims to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts pays their fair share in income tax. If you’re interested in getting involved in this effort, Raise Up needs you, and you can learn more here. Join us in contacting your state representatives and senators to urge them to take action to address income inequality in Massachusetts!