Members of Congress have the capacity to make sure that all Americans, not just a privileged few, share in the wealth that we all together create. This first IPS “inequality report card” evaluates current members on how well they are exercising this power.
The report card is based on 40 legislative actions taken over the past two years that relate to inequality. The bills range from legislation to establish a “Buffett Rule” minimum tax rate that all wealthy Americans must pay to a measure that would raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.
The report includes an overall “honor roll” — to highlight those representatives and senators who have done the most to narrow America’s economic divide — as well as a “dishonor roll” of lawmakers who have repeatedly tilted the “1%” way. The report card also details the “most 1% friendly” and “most 99% friendly” by party affiliation.Among the report’s key findings:
- Republicans dominate the report card’s “dishonor roll.” They make up the entire list of the 48 representatives and 11 senators with an “F” grade. A dozen Republicans made the “honor roll” with “C” level grades.
- Not all Democrats distinguish themselves as champions of greater equality. Seventeen lawmakers who caucus with the Democrats rate only at the “C” level.
- Of the ten states with the nation’s most uneven distribution of income, according to just-released Census data, only one — Massachusetts — has senators and representatives with a composite average “A” level score.
- None of the 11 senators earning an “F” grade come from any of the nation’s five most equal states, as rated by the new Census figures. Likewise, of the 48 “flunking” members of the House of Representatives, only one — Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah — comes from one of the nation’s five most equal states.