Income Inequality Is Hurting The Economy, 3 Dozen Economists Say

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Main topic: Discussion on Today's Huffingtonpost's Artical by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER  Income Inequality Is Hurting The Economy, 3 Dozen Economists Say.

The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn't bad just for individuals.

It's hurting the U.S. economy.

The growing gap between the richest Americans and everyone else isn't bad just for individuals.

It's hurting the U.S. economy.

"What you want is a broader spending base," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James, a financial advisory firm. "You want more people spending money."

"The broader the improvement, the more likely it will be sustained," said Michael Niemira,

Income inequality has steadily worsened in recent decades, according to government data and academic studies. The most recent census figures show that the average income for the wealthiest 5 percent of U.S. households, adjusted for inflation, has surged 17 percent in the past 20 years. By contrast, average income for the middle 20 percent of households has risen less than 5 percent.

Economists appear to be increasingly concerned about the effects of inequality on growth. In a speech this month, President Barack Obama declared inequality the "defining challenge of our time."

Now, he says, "there's not much denial of that ... and you're starting to see some research saying, yes, it does slow the economy."

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