WH Economic Adviser Blames ‘Income Inequality’ on Union Membership Decline

By | January 12, 2012 | 5:38 PM EST

(CNSNews.com) – White House Council of Economic Adviser Chair Alan Krueger on Thursday blamed “income inequality” on a decline in union membership.

Krueger said that union membership lifted the wages of lower middle class workers into the middle class, but membership has declined from 20 percent of employees in 1983 to 12 percent today.

He also cited the “decline in the real value of the minimum wage in the 1980s.”

Add to that, the role that tax policy has played, Krueger said, speaking at a discussion hosted by the Center for American Progress.

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“Although our tax code is still progressive, tax changes in the early 2000s benefited the very wealthy by much more than other taxpayers, compounding the widening gap in pre-tax incomes. As a result of reduced progressivity, the wealthy are now paying some of the lowest tax rates in history of the U.S.,” he said.

“Average tax rates for the wealthiest one tenth of one percent have been in decline for five decades,” Krueger added.