The House Democrats’ new select committee on wealth inequality is controversial.
The select committee was established in January this year, but its seats remained empty until this week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) This week announced eight members to make up the committee, which is officially called the Special Committee on Economic Disparities and Equity in Growth.
âThe past few decades have shown with devastating clarity the marked imbalance between the financial fortunes of CEOs and workers,â Pelosi said. âRespect for those who rake in profits by stagnating wages has seriously undermined the lives and livelihoods of many Americans, while slowing our country’s economic growth. This year, the worrying and dangerous trend of economic disparities has also been accelerated by the economic crisis of the coronavirus. .
“The devaluation of work has had a negative impact on consumer confidence, job creation and economic growth,” she added. “And the situation of families who no longer believe that their children will have a better future than them is gravely damaging and demoralizing for our society.”
Pelosi, however, has drawn backlash for adding one of Congress’ most controversial members to the committee: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.). She has a history of inflammatory comments that have drawn widespread opposition from Republicans.
Ocasio-Cortez has openly embraced Democratic socialism and proposed legislation to support it, including a huge Green New Deal package that would pay those who “don’t want to work.”
Recently, it caught fire in the aftermath of the fighting between Israel and the terrorist group Hamas for comments that critics called anti-Semitic.
“What could possibly go wrong?” Author and conservative commentator David Harris Jr. wrote on Twitter.
The congresswoman is on the committee tasked with tackling “generational disparities and the increasing power of workers in the economy.”
“I think one of the things that would be interesting for us to look at is that we should probably revisit some of the basic macroeconomic assumptions about the US economy and not take it for granted that inflation is due to a thing or another, or at that full employment is impossible in the United States of America, “Ocasio-Cortez said.” And I think that has been reiterated in the White House with very promising assertions and ambitious goals and trying to make sure every American has a decent job. “
Democratic leadership said the committee was inspired by the Temporary National Economic Committee founded in 1938 to study the cause of the Great Depression.
The move also comes after many of the country’s wealthiest residents had their tax returns published by ProPublica, drawing attention to the amount of taxes paid by billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
The committee also comes in as the Biden administration lobbies for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans and an increase in the corporate tax rate.
Without naming names, Pelosi spoke harshly to wealthier Americans, calling their high wages “immoral.”
âIt’s very clear that the gap is widening between CEOs – CEO compensation, worker compensation has gone from unfair to immoral,â Pelosi said. âStagnating Workers’ Wages: A Historical Picture of Injustice. About 40 years ago, if you saw our economy, you would see if productivity increased, workers’ wages increased, CEO salaries increased. Over the past 40 years, more like 35 it’s started to be, productivity is rising, salaries are stagnant, CEO salaries are rising. I call it a “right angle going in the wrong direction”. So much so that some CEOs earn in a matter of weeks, what their junior employees earn in a lifetime, in a lifetime. “
It remains to be seen whether the committee spurs real policy change.
“So the question is to define the challenge and hear from those who are most affected by it, the most in need, the most concerned about the diminishing luster of the American Dream, because it has a very demoralizing effect on our country, âPelosi says. “Everyone has to think that they and their families will have a better future than their parents. And when that is blunt, again, it is not good for a country.”