You all know the facts, said economist Joseph Stiglitz, addressing the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention delegates. America's workers productivity has soared, yet wages have stagnated.
"You've worked hard since 1979, your output per hour has increased 40%, but pay has barely increased," said Stiglitz. "The Great Recession has made things worse....95% of the gains from 2009 to 2012 went to the upper 1%. The rest, the 99%, never recovered."
The sobering fact is that the United States has become the advanced country with the highest level of inequality, with the greatest divide between the rich and poor, Stiglitz continued.
Stiglitz's book, The Price of Inequality, addresses the fact that income inequality is not naturally occurring, it is manufactured. This was chosen by laws that weaken unions, eroded the minimum wage to the lowest level and allowed CEOs to take home an even bigger piece of the corporate pie.
"It is plain the only true and sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity," Stiglitz said. "If we could ensure that everyone who wanted a job and was willing to work hard could get one, we could have an economy and society that is both more equal and more prosperous."
Stiglitz urged the delegates to share the message of shared prosperity far and wide.
You must get others to join you, to work with you, to fight with you. It is only you who can raise the voice of ordinary Americans and demand what you have worked so hard for. Together, we can grow our economy, strengthen our communities, restore the American Dream and re-establish our democracy—a government not of the 1%, for the 1%, but a government of all Americans, for all Americans and by all Americans.