Writing Unions Out of the Story on Fighting Poverty

By Peter Hart

The New York Times (6/4/14) took a look at one of the economic puzzles of the last few decades: If growth has been strong, why aren’t we seeing a greater reduction in poverty? Interestingly, the research the Times is relying on offers some explanations–ones the paper doesn’t see fit to mention.

union picket

The New York Times’ source said that the decline of labor unions was an important cause of inequality–but the Times didn’t think that was fit to print. (cc photo: Kheel Center)

The story by Neil Irwin–”Growth Has Been Good for Decades. So Why Hasn’t Poverty Declined?”–notes that it’s considered conventional wisdom that the “surest way to fight poverty is to achieve stronger economic growth.” But since the mid-’70s, the US economy has grown, but the benefits of that growth have not been shared. He writes: “The mystery of why–and how to change that–is one of the most fundamental challenges in the nation’s fight against poverty.”