The Rich and the Rest of Us

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What’s happening with income inequality in Hamilton and why we should care

By Sara Mayo

Even after inflation, the average income of the top 1% richest in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan area has grown by almost 50% since 1982, while the average income of the bottom 90% of taxfilers has grown by only 2% in this same period. For every dollar in new income in the Hamilton community in the last three decades, the top 1% have received 13 cents, while the bottom 90% have only shared 60 cents.

Those are two of the findings from a new report on income inequality by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.

Economists have warned that income inequality is damaging our economy, and now it’s also becoming clear that the unfairness of income inequality is contributing to important social problems, such as rising rates of mental illness, and lower voter turnout, among others.

The report highlights steps that can be taken to reverse the trends, such as improving employment standards and strengthening public services like transit, affordable housing and post-secondary education. But the report concludes with a troubling question: Do we trust each other enough to take action? The report highlights how the unfairness of income inequality makes it harder for residents to trust in the benefits of government action and society as whole, which means that what could be easy solutions are harder to achieve. This means it’s even more urgent to take action now to put the brakes on inequality immediately, before we lose even more trust in each other and in our society, the very trust needed to fix it.

Join us for dinner and discussion at the launch of the print version of the report.

The Rich and the Rest of Us
A Forum on  Jobs, Inequality and the Future of Ontario

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Doors at 6 p.m; Dinner at 6:30 p.m.; Live Town Hall Forum 7:30 p.m.

The Lincoln Alexander Centre
160 King Street East, Hamilton

(Next door to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, between Mary and Catharine Street.
Free event. Transit tickets available upon request.)

The event speakers will be Deirdre Pike, Senior Social Planner at the SPRC and co-author of the report, and James Clancy, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) and moderated by Ron Charles, CBC News reporter. The event includes a free buffet dinner for participants.

For more information about the event call 905-522-1148, Ext. 0

Click to download ‘The Rich and the Rest of Us: Trends in Hamilton’s Income Inequality and Why They Matter’

References cited in The Rich and the Rest of Us report by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton:
Armine Yalnizyan, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Study of Income Inequality in Canada – What Can be done about it
Conference board of Canada: How Canada Performs: Income Inequality
Broadbent Institute: Towards a More Equal Canada
Alex Himelfarb: Why We Have No Time for Politics
Miles Corak: Understanding Income Inequality and Why it is Important

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