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No consensus to revert to out of date, inaccurate 2009 descriptions of 2008 recession (RFC)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The consensus is to include both in some form. AlbinoFerret 13:47, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

There was no consensus at Talk:United States/Archive 67#Proposal to revert section Income, poverty and wealth to to 13 January version for this revert making the following change, because seven editors supported the 8 February version but only three supported the revert.

8 February version 13 January (and 9 February) version
The highest 10% of income earners pay a majority of federal taxes,[1] and about half of all taxes.[2][3] Growing income inequality and wealth concentration have resulted in affluent individuals, powerful business interests and other economic elites gaining increased influence over public policy.[4][5][6] Between June 2007 and November 2008 the global recession led to falling asset prices around the world. Assets owned by Americans lost about a quarter of their value.[7] Since peaking in the second quarter of 2007, household wealth is down $14 trillion.[8] At the end of 2008, household debt amounted to $13.8 trillion.[9]


  1. ^ Jane Wells (December 11, 2013). "The rich do not pay the most taxes, they pay ALL the taxes". CNBC. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
    Steve Hargreaves (March 12, 2013). "The rich pay majority of U.S. income taxes". CNN. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
    "Top 10 Percent of Earners Paid 68 Percent of Federal Income Taxes". Fedeeral Budget. The Heritage Foundation. 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
    Stephen Dinan (July 10, 2012). "CBO: The wealthy pay 70 percent of taxes". Washington Times. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
    "The Tax Man Cometh! But For Whom?". NPR. April 15, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Top 10 Percent of Earners Paid 68 Percent of Federal Income Taxes". Federal Budget. The Heritage Foundation. 2015. Retrieved January 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ Wamhoff, Steve (April 7, 2014). "Who Pays Taxes in America in 2014?" (PDF). Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  4. ^ Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page (2014). "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens". Perspectives on Politics 12 (3): 564–581. doi:10.1017/S1537592714001595. 
  5. ^ Larry Bartels (2009). "Economic Inequality and Political Representation". The Unsustainable American State. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195392135.003.0007. 
  6. ^ Thomas J. Hayes (2012). "Responsiveness in an Era of Inequality: The Case of the U.S. Senate". Political Research Quarterly 66 (3): 585–599. doi:10.1177/1065912912459567. 
  7. ^ Altman, Roger C. "The Great Crash, 2008". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved February 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Americans' wealth drops $1.3 trillion". CNN Money. June 11, 2009.
  9. ^ "U.S. household wealth falls $11.2 trillion in 2008". Reuters. Retrieved October 4, 2014. 

Which version presents a more accurate, pertinent, current, and comprehensive summary of the United States economy?

The thought that we should replace items of current controversy with 2009 descriptions of the 2008 recession seems almost laughably absurd to me. I had proposed that we also include the proportion of taxes paid by those with the most wealth, not just the most income. As you can see from Figure H on page 164 here, the wealthiest do not generally hold most of their assetts in current income generating investments, so they are generally not subject to taxation at the levels approaching those of the highest income earners (who are generally corporations rather than individual people anyway.) EllenCT (talk) 05:39, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

There was no consensus for removing the content, while there was a consensus for reversion. This can be seen in the archive. As can be seen it had received the support of VictorD7 & PointsofNoReturn, and only opposed by the single editor EllenCT. Therefore, since there does not appear to be a change in consensus, and the section was changed boldly, I will per WP:BRD undue the change by EllenCT. Please let us discuss this rather than letting this devolve into an edit war.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 12:22, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
That section shows no such consensus. Seven editors supported the earlier changes in January. What are your reasons for keeping the 2009 articles on the 2008 crash? They are long out of date, and their summaries which you've replaced are now flatly wrong by trillions of dollars. You yourself originally proposed describing the tax incidence, in a far less accurate wording which suggests you lack familiarity with the difference between income and wealth. EllenCT (talk) 21:50, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
I support the 8 February version.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 15:21, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Oppose Ellen's change, for reasons given in the earlier section. VictorD7 (talk) 21:19, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Which specific reasons? I see none stated. The 2009 descriptions of the 2008 crash have long been wildly inaccurate. EllenCT (talk) 21:50, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
You've seriously already forgotten? Aside from it being a niche soapbox topic that doesn't belong on this broad summary page, your proposed addition wording is an unacceptable NPOV violation. You're stating a controversial opinion in Wikipedia's voice. And what the hell is an "economic elite"? It's vague, demagogic language that doesn't belong in a high quality encyclopedia article. VictorD7 (talk) 19:39, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Oppose the 8 February version, which contains editorial content in the voice of Wikipedia. It would be better if this RFC had been structured to keep the Survey and the Threaded Discussion separate. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:56, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Which specific content do you consider editorial, and how would you rephrase it in the voice of the source(s)? Do you believe the 2009 articles on the 2008 crash are still accurate? EllenCT (talk) 22:03, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Aren't these apples and oranges? Why substitute a discussion of tax rates with one on assets? If both statements are well-sourced, why not include them both? that said, it may be true that most taxes are paid by the wealthy -- have not looked at the references -- but the statement is very misleading and much abused by the Fair Tax crowd. Elinruby (talk) 23:07, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but the oranges are off by $27 trillion dolars, and in the wrong direction, and have been for years. EllenCT (talk) 20:24, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't really understand the point you are making. If you are trying to measure affluence, yes, wealth may be a better measure than income as a lot of the wealthiest americans do not receive a salary per se, I understand. But I do not understand why you these sets of statements are in any way equivalent. One is taxes, one is assets. (?) Is your point that the tax system is unfair? Perhaps, but you seem to be getting close to original research and while I *like* wonky stuff, if *I* am having trouble deciphering your point this may be a sign of something....Elinruby (talk) 05:35, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm just saying that "household wealth is down $14 trillion" and the other similar statements need to be brought up to date, but I'm not sure how. "... was down $14 trillion but has since regained and as of 2015 is up $14 trillion over 2006 levels"? EllenCT (talk) 18:00, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
Two sentences? This happened. Now, this happened. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:42, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Include both Agree with Elinruby - why not include both. Darx9url (talk) 05:36, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Definitely Include both. Both are well sourced encyclopedic content. UnitedStatesian (talk) 02:04, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Include something along the lines of both the one is out of date, and the other, I take can include attribution. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:42, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
    The most we should include along the lines of Ellen's proposal is something brief, vague, and neutrally worded like "There is a debate over the extent and relevance of wealth and income inequality", followed by a couple of representative sources from each side. If necessary I can supply economic references challenging hers. VictorD7 (talk) 20:06, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
    Please do. EllenCT (talk) 00:26, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Racial breakdown in Law enforcement and crime section.[edit]

Especially since there have been recent efforts to expand the section again anyway, it's long way past time to revisit this old problematic segment:

"African-American males are jailed at about six times the rate of white males and three times the rate of Hispanic males."

Having a racial breakdown of incarceration rate without also including a racial breakdown on crime rate is inflammatory and misleading. We should either delete the racial sentence or add a segment on racial crime rates. Racial crime rates can be found through many sources, including the FBI's site. Drugs (sans racial breakdown) are mentioned separately in a following segment, but I'm talking about things like murder offender and victim rate broken down by race, and possibly some other items like juvenile offender or gang membership rates by race. Without tying it to disparate crime rates, the current segment could be interpreted by readers who don't know any better as meaning the US is simply rounding people up and incarcerating them at a shocking racial disparity solely because of their skin color. VictorD7 (talk) 20:13, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

By all means, let's include the difference in minorities' population proportion with their arrest rates per suspect race reported, charges requiring a mandatory minimum sentence, plea bargain offers, jury verdict outcomes, sentencing outcomes, and execution rates compared to whites.[1] EllenCT (talk) 23:07, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
<INSERT>Sidestepping your link to an advocacy group, I'm guessing even they don't deny that blacks commit crimes at much higher rates than non blacks, a fact far more salient in societal impact than alleged disparities of a few percent in court system treatment (which can arguably be explained by unaccounted for variables other than racial discrimination anyway), something the section currently doesn't mention. Nor are victimization rates mentioned. Most crime is intraracial (e.g. black on black, white on white), and blacks are victims of murder and other serious crimes at far higher rates than whites, so it's not like "the system" is skewing the stats by letting a lot of white murderers go free while only rounding up blacks for some reason. VictorD7 (talk) 21:42, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
The disparities are far more than a few percent, as both of my links show through the objective sources they cite, which are easily verified in academic studies and reliable media sources. What kind of sources claim that minorities commit crimes at greater rates, controlling for socioeconomic strata and education levels? EllenCT (talk) 00:49, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I didn't bother clicking on your overt advocacy links (because I've studied this issue and am already familiar with the arguments on both sides), but the abstract in your own link states on black/white sentencing disparity that "Pre-charge characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain about 80% of these disparities". I suspect other variables they don't account for can explain most or all of the rest (studies on the issue are contradictory, with some actually showing more leniency toward blacks), but no one denies blacks commit crime at much higher rates. Adjusting for socioeconomic status isn't pertinent unless you were planning on adjusting incarceration rates by socioeconomic status, but since you asked there is a ton of research showing that racial crime rate differences "persist even after controlling for socioeconomic status" (p. 332). To underscore this, blacks commit homicide at roughly 7 times the rate of whites, but have only about twice the poverty rate of whites, indicating there are other cultural factors at work. It also adds nothing pertinent to this discussion, but I do appreciate you linking to the USA Today piece (I've read before) that points out disparities like those emphasized recently in the inappropriately singled out Ferguson exist all over the country, from New England to San Francisco, underscoring (yet again) what an unmitigated, intellectually dishonest, cowardly hack Eric Holder is. As the law professor from your own article states (and any honest person with some knowledge of statistics knows), "That does not mean police are discriminating." But I think we've risked derailing this discussion enough. Our very debate underscores the inappropriateness of the current article segment. Better to remove it than blow it up with an undue point/counterpoint mess. VictorD7 (talk) 21:32, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
"what an unmitigated, intellectually dishonest, cowardly hack Eric Holder is." well as long as we're discussing improvements to the article --Golbez (talk) 21:47, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I acknowledged in the same post this was a tangent unrelated to article improvement, except insofar as the debate further illustrates the problem with injecting a cherry-picked racial breakdown into the section in the first place. VictorD7 (talk) 21:54, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
At the rate violent crimes have been falling, I suggest that your 1997 source based on data from a 1994 symposium is as far out of date as it is currently possible to be. Also, is it counting homicides or convictions after all of the choice points at which racial discrimination has been documented (detention, arrest, charge, plea bargain, trial)? Moreover, the alternative hypotheses based on lead poisoning are extraordinarily strong although I doubt you will bother to study them because you believe the publisher is biased. EllenCT (talk) 01:21, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Naahhh. Why would anyone accuse that blog you posted of bias? What's next? Predicting someone will suggest Michael Moore is biased? BTW, lead poisoning, lol? Regardless, whether it's that or cosmic rays from extraterrestrials, it doesn't refute anything I've said. I posted the Harvard study to answer your question about whether economic status sufficiently explains racial crime rate disparity (it doesn't). The ratios have stayed roughly the same since then. "In 2008 the offending rate for blacks (24.7 offenders per 100,000) was 7 times higher than the rate for whites (3.4 offenders per 100,000)." (p. 11) If I remember right such stats include witness descriptions of uncaptured suspects along with captured ones (there are also "Other" and "Unknown" categories), and is roughly similar to the victimization rates (though blacks are somewhat more likely to commit murder than be murdered), so it's not like it's a bunch of witnesses in white neighborhoods making up stories about a phantom black killer. More recent info is available if you want to spend time looking for it. Now your questions have been answered, and I think this tangent has run its course. VictorD7 (talk) 20:45, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
I still say your 1994 data could not have been more inaccurate if you had tried. By "offender" you mean "convict," don't you? So that statistic is suspect. However, we should be able to use victims' reported race of the perpetrators for nonlethal violent offenders without suffering systematic bias, if you can find those. EllenCT (talk) 17:33, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
No, everything I posted was accurate and I took the data up through at least 2008. Like other DOJ stats they include an "Unknown" category, since in some cases there are no witnesses, which would be bizarre if they were only counting convictions. Plus there are comments like this in the underlying data source: "The information provided on the SHR form reflects what agencies know based on their initial police investigation and does not reflect subsequent decisions made by prosecutors or courts." You should actually read the studies I quoted from. VictorD7 (talk) 20:52, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Good find. While we're on the subject, it seems astounding to me that the Law enforcement and crime section omits any mention of the militarization of the police force, rampant police shootings (more than all other developed nations combined) and police brutality.
I restored and modified the sentence on the privatization of prisons and cited WP:RS (two books published by academic publishers, one article from a peer-reviewed academic journal and one recent article from The New Yorker). It is certainly a notable topic given the growing controversy and worthy of one brief sentence.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 23:27, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
You're astounded that not every pet soapbox topic you've become interested in crusading on isn't included in the article? Coverage of a "controversy" entails covering more than one side. Controversies by definition are disagreements. I haven't read all your new sources yet, but the old ones (and I'm guessing the new ones) only espouse one POV. You also haven't established that it's a noteworthy controversy for coverage here. Are private prisons regularly a major national election issue? I don't recall the last time I heard a politician mention the issue. There's also a SYNTH issue with placement. Your page version seems to imply that the high incarceration rate is at least partly due to private prisons. Since they don't convict people, I suppose you're pushing a conspiracy theory about tough sentencing resulting from a desire to please privately run prisons rather than most Americans, who have desired tough sentencing since at least the 1980s. Whether you believe that or not, this isn't the article or indeed the website for "social justice" crusading. VictorD7 (talk) 21:42, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
All you have to do is a simple google news search and see for yourself that prison privatization is a contentious issue garnering ever more media attention. Your nasty and ill-informed rant about conspiracy theories aside, what I restored (I didn't add the content originally - must be another "conspiracy theorist"!!!) and modified is backed by reliable sources.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 22:05, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Your Google search mostly shows leftist blogs. My comments were informed and never claimed there can't be more than one conspiracy theorist. Do your sources prove that support for tough sentencing isn't due to its popularity among voters? How? Psychic powers? Or are they just giving their own opinions? You ignored everything I said about a controversy involving disagreement. Controversy - "1. A dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views." Do you care at all about covering the other side? VictorD7 (talk) 22:16, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh please. The phenomenon of prison privatization has been reported in The New York Times, Al Jazeera America, Politico, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, the Associated Press, et cetera. Just because it wasn't an issue in a national election (are you kidding me with this? National campaigns rarely focus on anything of substance by my estimation) doesn't mean it's not noteworthy. Not only that, but the sources I cited speak for themselves, unless you believe peer-reviewed academics and The New Yorker are peddling conspiracy theories. Your only role in this discussion appears to be setting up straw-men and attempting to knock them down. There is no basis for synth accusations as what I restored does not link incarceration rates to prison privatization, regardless of placement. As it stands now no "side" is given. That being said, while you would no doubt dismiss the following as "conspiracy theories," prison companies and ALEC have played their part in pushing for draconian laws to keep prisons filled and pressuring states to sign contracts guaranteeing 90% occupancy or higher. I did not add this content to this particular article as that would be giving undue weight to the issue. --C.J. Griffin (talk) 04:42, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
Countless "phenomena" have been mentioned in a few articles, but at least you concede it's not a national level political issue. This is a very broad national summary article and not the place for covering any random niche issue that fits your whimsy. In addition to placement (and yes, implied conspiracy theory), the "side" is taken in what you're calling a "controversy" by all your sources being anti-private prison. If it's truly a "controversy", much less one that rises to the level of meriting coverage here, then there is by definition more than one side. You dodged my question; did you even try to find a single source from the other side? VictorD7 (talk) 21:46, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I have conceded no such thing; quite the opposite based on my statement about political campaigns being more fluff than substance. I can find dozens more articles on the subject reported in national and international media (i.e., The Guardian) in the last several years, indicating just how widespread the discussion of the issue has become. I'm working on a rewrite of the passage to have "controversy" removed completely given this is one of the big sticking points and replacing it with "The privatization of prisons, which began in the 1980s, has been the subject of mounting criticism in recent years," which is actually more accurate. Outside of industry funded studies and a few "reports" published in neoliberal rags and by corporate-funded think tanks, there aren't too many articles praising the for-profit prison industry; certainly nothing in peer-reviewed academic sources that I've seen.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 23:01, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
Now you're backpedaling away from it even being a "controversy" (your original word). It's more like niche criticism from some like minded ideologues that doesn't rise to the level of meriting coverage in this brief summary article. Niche criticism in the US exists on countless topics we don't mention on this page. Many are covered in subtopic articles, which is where (neutral) discussion of private prisons belongs. For the record, acknowledging that prison privatization isn't a national election issue is hardly the "opposite" of acknowledging that it's not a national political issue, whether you feel the former is "fluff" or not. The sentence should be deleted, but if it remains expect me to significantly tweak it and/or the references at some point. If you instead take the matter to a subtopic article, you should include coverage of the views of the industry, "neoliberal rags", and think tanks you mentioned, even though you personally disagree with them. We aren't limited to "peer reviewed academic sources", especially on subjective political issues where the sources in question are overtly championing one side. VictorD7 (talk) 21:17, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not backpedaling away from anything. The original sentence was something I quickly came up with in order to restore materials you arbitrarily deleted; I merely improved upon it and now it better reflects the sources cited. I have demonstrated time and again that there is a growing chorus against prison privatization in the United States - in both national and international media on a significant scale. This is what makes it relevant in a section on incarceration, especially considering it's just one small sentence. That a fringe minority views private prisons in a positive light is irrelevant. I don't know what binary world you live in, but there aren't always two "sides" to every issue. For example, should we now include views on holocaust denial on the Holocaust wiki article for the sake of representing all "sides"? Of course not. And don't preach to me about neutrality on wikipedia and rant about so-called ideologues as though you aren't one. Just based on what you've posted in this section it is quite obvious.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:27, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
No, the sentence I deleted (for good reasons given) called private prisons "a subject of contentious public debate", which is even more explicit than just labeling it a "controversy". You're backpedaling from that claim now. And no, society's status quo position can hardly be dismissed as a "fringe minority view". Such rhetoric is ludicrous. The truth is that a few fringe activists have started complaining about it (with think tanks and other sources disagreeing with them, as you've already conceded), but it's not (yet at least) a matter of contentious debate nor much of a "growing controversy", at least not one meriting coverage in this article. Even if it was a national controversy it wouldn't necessarily be appropriate material for this encyclopedia article. There are many far more significant controversies given little or no coverage here. We all have our political views. The difference between you and me is that I'm not trying to hijack Wikipedia articles for one sided soapbox crusading. We can have our views and still edit for neutrality. If your monochrome worldview won't allow you to do that then maybe this isn't the best site for your energies. VictorD7 (talk) 23:18, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
"the current segment could be interpreted by readers who don't know any better as meaning the US is simply rounding people up and incarcerating them at a shocking racial disparity solely because of their skin color." so, it would be interpreted correctly? --Golbez (talk) 00:41, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
This segment is too controversial for an article about the entire nation. Any mention on crime and race should be in a dedicated sub-article. This statement is too POV for such a broad article in Wikipedia. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 01:43, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Agree with PointsofNoReturn just to much detail for an overview article. To generalize... this topic is not even covered by most FA like articles Australia, Canada and Japan. All that is needed is a section called "Law" that mentions the structure of thing. There is no need foe detailed stats of executions, imprisonment rates or murders by state. Just over kill that can be covered in the main article. I also agree with User:Golbez POV on how it looks. -- Moxy (talk) 02:42, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed, this article needs to stop being a WP:SOAPBOX. There is a place on Wikipedia for this, definitely in some sub-article somewhere. But not here.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:12, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Are you proposing we purge the entire crime section? I really don't see that happening considering it's a long-standing section and is backed by reliable sources. I sure would not support that. If anything, some of it needs updated.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 20:37, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
We wouldn't need to purge the entire section necessarily. It would just be necessary to leave out any racial components from the section and simply leave them the the dedicated sub-articles on crime in America. I do not have too much of a problem with the section otherwise. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 20:43, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
It appears that it's just one sentence and it is backed by a reliable source. If it was an entire paragraph I would see your point. I don't see any issues of undue weight given the nation's long history of racial problems. It would be like purging the China article of any mention of repression of Falun gong members and harvesting their organs (among other things). Is that too much detail for an overview of China?--C.J. Griffin (talk) 21:07, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
But it's not going to remain one sentence, because it's currently misleading and in violation of NPOV. If it remains then racial breakdowns of at least some of the major crime rates must be added, and it sounds like you may be interested in further expansions, which will in turn invite even more expansions to maintain some semblance of neutrality (including at some point commentary on modern American black culture by people whose politics is different from yours and all sorts of tangents), bloating that part of the section into an overweight mess. VictorD7 (talk) 21:54, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Golbez, because I'm a nice guy I'll charitably allow for the possibility that you misread the op and give you a chance to clarify. Do you really believe that the racial incarceration rate is solely due to discrimination, and that blacks don't commit crime at a rate any higher than non-blacks? As for the discrimination angle, we've been through that with a long debate that ended when I quoted how your own posted meta-study refuted your position. That said, regardless of what you personally feel is "correct", this isn't the place for soapboxing. The section currently tramples NPOV. VictorD7 (talk) 21:42, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
protip: i agree with you on omitting the sentence, just not on your reasoning. "this isn't the place for soapboxing" so why did bring racial politics into it, when it would have been easier to just point out "this is a specific concern of a small aspect of the nation that doesn't belong in this summary article, and also has more to do with the state and local authorities than the national". easy peasy. so the question you must ask yourself is, do you really want to start an argument over this with someone who agrees with you? because we can burn the whole talk page to the ground til we get blocked, or we can clam up and keep this discussion to what is best for the article. --Golbez (talk) 23:36, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Actually I've said both here (and I'm reacting to racial politics, not injecting it), but I'm glad to hear that you agree with removing the sentence. VictorD7 (talk) 00:14, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
@Golbez: America has the largest proportion of people in jail, and the largest relative proportion of ethnic minorities in jail. Why are those facts "small aspects" of the US? EllenCT (talk) 00:49, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
Most people in jail, relevant. "largest relative proportion of ethnic minorities" is... well, first of all, I'd ask for a source but I don't particularly care. And also, disproportionately jailing ethnic minorities is certainly nothing that the US has a monopoly on. That is a detail that's not necessary in this article. And really, you're going to have this fight with me? And yes, civil law enforcement practices pertaining to one aspect of sentencing are one specific concern of the small aspect of the nation that is law enforcement, which usually gets no more than a couple of paragraphs in an article; the inclusion of every sentence in a crowded article like this must be justified, and this one hasn't been. --Golbez (talk) 03:38, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't want to fight, I just want to understand your reasoning. If, after understanding it, I think there is sufficient room for improvement, then I'm willing to try to communicate the rationale for those improvements. I don't see that as fighting. EllenCT (talk) 01:27, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
but that's just it, all people ever do on this page is fight. they're in love with the sound of their own voice. I'm tired of it. While you and Victor do, occasionally, from time to time, work towards a valid edit, 99% of the time it's just argument for the sake of argument that leads literally nowhere. Though that's still better than the 100% we have for the territories argument. Sorry, I'm just really, really burnt out on this talk page's bullshit right now. I could leave. I probably should. But I'd rather sit here and snark. --Golbez (talk) 02:38, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Why do you think we're not sincerely trying to improve the encyclopedia? I know I am, and I think Victor thinks he is too. I just feel like he's been lied to by those who wish to profit from mass disinformation, and I'm pretty sure he would probably say the same about me. Therefore I think it's very important to hash out the facts, even if it takes a long time. What makes it seem like we aren't trying to improve the encyclopedia instead of reflecting the trend towards wider and harsher disagreement in American society? EllenCT (talk) 14:46, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh, you and Victor certainly are sincerely trying to improve the encyclopedia. You two are just bad at it. You both bring up arguments here that have been argued forever on other parts of the internet, expecting a different or lasting result to come of them here. --Golbez (talk) 06:06, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
I disagree of course, and that's especially rich coming from you, Golbez. About all I see you do here is derail threads (look at your initial response to this op, which apparently didn't represent your pertinent article position which you didn't bother stating until later), behave like a hot head, and personally attack people. Your newest comment here is no exception. I criticize others sometimes but at least I also offer substance, and the tangential subject commentary I sometimes add is usually either just graciously answering someone's questions, correcting posted misinformation, or illustrating that there's serious disagreement on a topic that other editors may not know about. All of that can be useful to long term article improvement. VictorD7 (talk) 20:02, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Bad relative to whom? Even I would prefer Victor to someone who wants to add something about how a tributary of some river was or was not part of the Louisiana purchase, maybe even two or three hours out of the year. EllenCT (talk) 22:13, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Compare the volume of argument here over crime rates and the relative merits of the black race to how much change has actually come of it. The signal:noise ratio is astoundingly small. And neither of you care what the other has to say, or, I dare assume, even read each other's sources. It is literally a forum argument in wiki form. This whole thing could have been dealt with in a far more efficient manner if you two had decided to treat this as a collaboration instead of a battleground. And Victor - I decided to respond to your needless political remark (and it was indeed needless and political, as it was your own specific viewpoint on something you know people disagree with) because, well, I wanted to, and because we each got one. But then you kept on with it. But eh. I've decided to fully ignore everyone in the interminable territory debate, I can ignore everyone in the interminable right wing/left wing debate here, and just make my goddamn maps and lists. --Golbez (talk) 01:20, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • The argument above outlines why this controversial and misleading section should be removed. Great example of how people will see the info in a different light.-- Moxy (talk) 04:59, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
It is highly unlikely that the entire section will be removed. You seem to be the only editor pushing this. Much of the content, from gun violence to executions to the fact that the US has the largest prison population on earth, is significant and relevant as the US is clearly an outlier among developed nations in the area of crime and punishment, and warrants mention in the article. After all, the China article discusses "controversial" issues such as executions and persecution of religious minorities. If such content is relevant to an overview of China, how could the aforementioned content not be relevant to an overview of the US?--C.J. Griffin (talk) 13:17, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
Not remove the entire section, remove the POV SOAPBOXING being advocated, especially as it is presently one sided in the article, and to create a BALANCED presentation of the issue would give the issue far too much WEIGHT in a summary article. As I said here before, this content has a place on Wikipedia, just not on this particular article.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:29, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I see none of the soapboxing that you are referring to, just facts that could make some people of certain political persuasions very uncomfortable. That being said, I'm willing to compromise and let the sentence pertaining to the racial breakdown of imprisonment rates go if the rest remains intact.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 23:01, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
As to avoid an edit war, please see WP:RELTIME regarding the above editors most recent edit to the section being discussed.
Also, "I'm willing to"? Please see WP:OWN. I wasn't aware that C.J. Griffin had to sign off on all edits of this article.
There are editors here of differences of opinion as to what should and should not be included, and how much weight certain controversial items should be given in this article. What we can do, and what I am suggesting, is attempt to collaborate here on the talk page, and reach consensus to create a balanced section. One way to achieve balance is to not include either side at all, and link, in a see also hat note of the section to those articles whose scope is specific to those controversial subjects. This leaves whatever back and forth debate/argument on those related articles, and keeps them off here.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:48, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
I altered my most recent edits.
Oh come on. you know perfectly well that I was merely informing others in the discussion that I would not challenge any removal of the sentence in question so long as there are no other attempts at removing long-standing materials in this section. This seems to be the main sticking point. But like I suspected I have a feeling that more than a few here would like the entire paragraph on incarceration deleted for political reasons. Now that I will go to the mat over.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 00:12, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
I just don't want the racial sentence in the article. I am fine with the rest of the section. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 01:32, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
No one wants to delete the entire paragraph, though many of us believe the section is currently extremely skewed (with opinions, not just facts) for political reasons. And I'm all for adding facts, which is why in the op I proposed going that route as a potential alternative to deleting the racial breakdown, but some of those facts made some people very uncomfortable, which is why deletion of the most egregious sentence is likely at this point. Maybe at a future date we can address the gun control soapboxing by adding facts on guns' role in thwarting crimes, the relationship between concealed gun laws and falling crime rates, the fact that other developed nations already had lower violent crime rates than the US long before they passed gun control laws, murder rates in the US cities with the strictest gun control, and the relationship between "gun free zones" and mass killings, or we can trim more, but that's a discussion for another time. VictorD7 (talk) 21:17, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Obviously something must be mentioned aboiut criminal justice in the U.S. The fact that it holds a quarter of the world's prisoners, that it is one of the only developed countries that executes people and that minorities are overrepresented in its prisons are all significant. Certainly they are also overrepresented in other countries, but it is particularly noticeable in the U.S. due to the larger minority populations. Saying the reason is that minorities commit more crimes is just one spin on the issue - minorities are more likely to be prosecuted and attract longer sentences. And the reason they commit more crimes is that they are more likely to be economically disadvantaged. But detailed analysis is beyond the scope of this article. If we were to treat every significant aspect of the U.S. in this detail, the article would run into dozens of pages. Readers who have a particular interest in this topic may go to the sub-articles that explain it in detail. TFD (talk) 05:02, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Actually I'd argue that racial disparity in crime rate is more fundamental and significant than the racial incarceration breakdown (hardly "spin"; if anything it's easier to accuse the latter talking point of deflection), but I don't think either needs to be discussed in this brief summary article. For the record the sentencing claim is disputed and economic status doesn't explain the racial crime rate disparity. VictorD7 (talk) 21:17, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Oh, if it's not that African Americans have been a marginalized and economically disadvantaged segment of the population since even before the nation's founding, then pray tell what is the "real" (i.e., right-wing) reason (propaganda) for the racial crime rate disparity? This in and of itself is a red herring. In fact, studies have shown that black male youth are much more likely to be incarcerated at higher rate than their white and hispanic counterparts even though they don't commit crimes at a higher rate.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 14:27, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
Please. A garbage self reporting study on kids (that measured frequency rather than severity anyway?) doesn't change the fact that blacks commit crime at much higher rates than non-blacks (shown by concrete data), and that this can't be accounted for by controlling for economic status. You seem to just be rehashing the discussion with Ellen near the top of this section. Refer to my posts there for sourced refutation. As for why, we could discuss things from the legacy of slavery to the destructive impact of the welfare state and growing racial grievance movement in eroding personal responsibility, or maybe the unchecked and self crippling simmering bigotry within black communities, but all that is beside the point. The facts are the facts. We don't have to answer why. We certainly shouldn't be implying a specific, misleading "why" (like institutional racial discrimination accounts for most or all of the incarceration disparity; easily debunked) with cherry-picked facts as part of a soapbox crusade. Better to not get into this niche racial issue at all in this brief summary section. VictorD7 (talk) 23:18, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

I just noticed we don't have anything about the falling violent crime rate which is prettly clearly a more profound and substantial change than many of the other statistics in the Law enforcement and crime section. Any objections to inclusion? EllenCT (talk) 17:00, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

Um, the section's second paragraph has long led off with a segment (I added, thank you very much) about the murder rate falling 54% from its modern peak in 1980 to 2012, mostly sourced to the FBI. If you want to expand that to broader categories of crime, we should tuck that in after that sentence. We should probably use more recent data than 2009 if we're posting specifics though. It would also be wise to post sources and specifics here before adding them to the article (I'm assuming you aren't proposing adding that image). VictorD7 (talk) 20:07, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
Great! Thank you. How do you feel about law enforcement, corrections, and indigent defense spending? Anyone else object? EllenCT (talk) 00:58, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
No, I don't think apples and oranges comparisons from totally unrelated categories forced together on a graph for emotive impact on a far left blog would be moving the section in the right direction. I suppose the most charitable thing one can say is that it's overly detailed for this article. VictorD7 (talk) 04:01, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
When did Mother Jones become a reliable source? Again, NOTSOAPBOX.
Saying how much is spent on law enforcement is one thing, saying how many people are incarcerated is one thing, but no need to push a POV.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 05:11, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
They won a Pulitzer, didn't they? And they have a bunch of fact-checkers on staff. How are the Murdoch outlets doing in the fact-checker sweepstakes? Has FNC caught up to the WSJ yet? I keep forgetting the relative scores of Mother Jones and Democracy Now, which is another left wing source with far better fact checking than Fox News but they like dissidents. Should we have a section on American dissidents? Like, how many are there? I couldn't tell you, and I read lots of pro-dissident outlets. EllenCT (talk) 07:26, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
A single ideologically driven Pulitzer doesn't change the fact that it's a half assed, far left opinion blog, most recently making a splash for getting caught red handed lying in an attempt to smear Bill O'Reilly (even left leaning Mediate took the blog to task on it). But that's not the most important factor here. Even low quality partisan blogs are "reliable" for their own views, but this isn't the section for POV soapboxing, no matter how "reliable" a source is. RightCowLeftCoast is right. That said, if we were to inject random liberal opinions on new topics, we could probably find better sources to represent those views.
BTW, what "fact checking sweepstakes", lol? There are dozens of blogs calling themselves "fact checkers". If you're referring to Politifact, I've quoted for you before where they admit their scores aren't comparable to each other, because they only cherry-pick a few claims from each outfit in a totally ad hoc, unscientific manner. Politifact has also credibly been accused of partisan bias and inaccuracies anyway. But that's yet another tangent unrelated to article improvement. VictorD7 (talk) 20:02, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
You pick. Name any fact checking series which has Fox News Channel in the top half. EllenCT (talk) 22:13, 20 March 2015 (UTC)
Just cause they call themselves fact checkers don't make them so. As VictorD7 has pointed out on this talk page. This is not a page which to attack Fox News, there is enough of that here on Wikipedia and eslewhere. It is the favorite pass time of those who oppose what it calls "fair and balanced". It just happens not to be as Left as the rest of American News Media (Gallup, UCLA, U.S. News & World Report, Rasmussen, Business Insider, Goldberg (2001), Groseclose (2011)).

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Back to the question at hand, do the crimes committed by race, judicial prosecution by race, and incarceration population by race belong in this article? No. Take it elsewhere, please. Create its own article, and link it here. Expand on it in relevant articles where that is that articles primary scope, and link it here. But this is not the place for detailed examination of this, or even significant mention. There is an attempt by certain segments of the population to claim prosecution base on race, of systemic racism. Stop. See WP:RECENTISM. See again NOTSOAPBOX. But please, see BALANCE.
The best way to achieve balance here is not to mention it, and to link it in the see also section of Law enforcement in the United States (or create a section in that article). No need for that controversial subject here.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 02:44, 21 March 2015 (UTC)

VictorD7, we have all heard the echo chamber talking points. The fact is that none of it is supported by reliable sources. The main driving factors of criminal activity are gender, age and economic status, and minorities, including women incidentally, not only in the U.S., tend to receive higher sentences for the same offenses. Once those three factors are accounted for, race has nothing to do with criminality. And yes Mother Jones is a reliable source and so is Fox News, although the commentators and their guests are not. TFD (talk) 04:40, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
Reliable for what? You're the one posting pale echoes, TFD. Unlike you, I posted studies proving my point. To avoid repetition or finding additional, redundant ones I again ask you to visit the high part of this thread and read them. The racial crime rate disparity doesn't vanish when economic status is controlled for. Again, blacks have about twice the poverty rate as whites but commit murder at around seven times the rate of whites. Obviously there is a gender gap in violence but that has nothing to do with this racial discussion. I'm not sure why you even mentioned it. Age? What's the average age difference between blacks and whites? You're grasping at straws. The sentencing disparity is hotly debated and remains unproved (Ellen's own study said 80% of it vanished when severity of offense and criminal past are accounted for; I've seen studies that reduce it further by controlling for more variables), and sentencing doesn't come until after the crimes are committed and there's been a conviction anyway, so it doesn't explain the crime skew based on witness reports. Yet of all these, it's the only one focused on by the article, at least through implication (an interpretation reinforced by poster argument in favor of the segment here). By contrast the racial crime rate disparity is real and concrete, regardless of the underlying explanations.
Rather than cherry-picking one dubious talking point for soapbox emphasis, wouldn't it be better to just delete the racial breakdown entirely and deal with the matter on more narrowly focused, detail oriented subtopic articles instead, where the subject can be fully and neutrally covered? VictorD7 (talk) 20:52, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

So Removal?[edit]

Is there a consensus for removing the racial incarceration sentence then, or should it remain with me adding racial crime rate breakdowns for neutrality and full coverage of the issue? Several posters strongly supported removal but with some of the potential objectors it wasn't clear how strongly or if they necessarily opposed removal. VictorD7 (talk) 19:16, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Too Long; Didn't Read[edit]

So we have a nice report out today explaining that the article is being skipped over because it has more then 9,000 words. According to the study people only make it through 45 to 50 percent of this article ( 88 kB - 14186 words) compared to 85 to 90 percent for the article Japan (46 kB -7345 words). This needs to be fixed if people want our readers to actually read this article. -- Moxy (talk) 21:00, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

All the more reason the racial incarceration breakdown should be deleted, since the overly detailed segment's presence will lead to expansion for the sake of NPOV, and possibly rounds of point/counterpoint bloating. VictorD7 (talk) 21:08, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Where is this report? I am curious to read it. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 21:09, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to see the report first too before supporting a shorter article.. Prcc27 (talk) 22:11, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
@Moxy: If possible, will you please provide a link of some sort to this report you speak of? Dustin (talk) 22:25, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
Its in my local paper (Ottawa citizen) a hard copy dated march 22....I cant find it on there website. I will see if its reprinted at some other web page. I did find this on-line that explains the problem. But all should move forward with trimming the has been explained during the GA review "this article is in the worst category for size" In fact it moved from 97th before the GA review to 66 after the GA review as seen here. Wikipedia:Article size is pretty clear on these matters. We should be focused on making a readable article over jamming all we can into this one page. TLDR is a syndrome where an individual either entirely ignores content or skims through only the heading, bullets or important sections because of size.....we can fix this here/ -- Moxy (talk) 00:51, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
This article has good article status, so I don't see the urgency in wiping out huge swaths of content just to cut it down to size, which goes against Wikipedia policy anyway. Just looking at comments here I am not surprised to see at least one editor salivating at the thought of deleting materials that don't fit his political agenda, which is why I will vote against any massive deletions, regardless of what some Ottawa Citizen article supposedly says. Besides, it looks to me like roughly one third of the article is made up of citations and a bibliography section.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 03:53, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
<INSERT>Lots of people have complained about article length size over the years, especially its impact on load times. That's why we embarked on that long project to reduce the History section, remember? My concern here is that if you continue to use this page as a soapbox for your political agenda (you were in the middle of further expansions in the prison section before I intervened) it will make this problem even worse, especially since I and others will be forced add facts you don't like for the sake some semblance of NPOV, making the article yet bigger. That's one of the many reasons to oppose what you're doing here. VictorD7 (talk) 20:19, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
You had ample opportunity to shorten it at several junctures, but instead we all must read that the poor in the US have access to refrigeration technology, but not why they are poor when everyone wants them to be able to buy their stuff. EllenCT (talk) 01:56, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
No, actually the "refrigeration" and other household amenity segments simply factually describing what "poor" means in America got deleted a long time ago during a page shrinking round. I guess you forgot about that. This certainly isn't the article to get into speculative, ideologically contingent debates about why people are allegedly poor. Wow. VictorD7 (talk) 16:47, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
The calculations of size has nothing to do with the sources....Also i have not suggested removing huge amount of material...most can be consolidated not removed. I am only here to tell you the problem that has come up. if you think its best people just skip the article that is fine no big loss to me. Was thinking that all the people that wrote the article would like it to be read. We have an essay that is easier to understand then the policy on article sizes Wikipedia:Too long; didn't read-- Moxy (talk) 04:56, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
I also do not think we should shorten the article, it's fine as is. Prcc27 (talk) 04:20, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
If this is considered a parent article, than content can be moved, not removed from Wikipedia, to child articles where the content is more relevant, and a summary of the child article(s) be left here with appropriate references. This is keeping with WP:TOOLONG, and does not remove content from Wikipedia, just relocates it to more appropriate sub-articles.
Also given the lack of stability of this article (given the constant debate on changes), and now all the dead links, I believe the GA status is dubious, and is best B-class.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 11:26, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Even as one of the editors who helped push the article to GA, you are probably right about the lack of stability hurting the article. Sadly, that is going to happen on an article about the United States, one of the most controversial articles on Wikipedia. The dead links were mostly fixed during the GA review, but it seems more were added or we simply did not get all of them. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 15:50, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
Stability should be easy for this overview parent article that is not listed at Wikipedia:List of controversial issues or Category:Wikipedia controversial topics. All the BS here should be moved and explained at the appropriate article. This is not the article to debate POV on each topic ...but present an overview. As of now more is said about random crime stats in the past two decades while neglecting Native American history. One paragraph for a millennia of Native American history with other sections bloated with stats....just does not looked balanced. Aslo do we need to link so many see also's links under each header? ...for example "Religion" the main article Religion in the United States has all the links that are spammed here. -- Moxy (talk) 17:05, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Trends in local vs global inequality[edit]

I propose that we add a sentence summarizing the graphs in [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], and [8], contrasting those with the situation depicted at [9] and [10]. EllenCT (talk) 20:00, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Nope, no need for this in this article, take this to a sub-article, to an article specific to inequality. But there is no need for every thing here. Please no WP:SOAPBOX.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 21:07, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Just cause it can be verified doesn't mean it should be given weight, especially in this article, which is an overview article of the entire country.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 21:07, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
The trends are already covered in sub-articles, where for very good and well-sourced reasons, they are considered extremely important. What is the basis for your claim that there is "no need" to summarize them here? EllenCT (talk) 23:20, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
IMHO, WP:UNDUE. I know that it is likely that EllenCT disagrees with me on this view. However, there it is. Also, equality; see Harrison Bergeron & Animal Farm, even The Cutie Map.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 23:31, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
Complete equality would be dystopian, but large amounts of inequality would be worse. Therefore, the lines in [11] should never be allowed to become horizontal or vertical, and the question becomes their optimal slope. However, the change in the line's slope and characteristics should be summarized. The costs of adding a single sentence doing so to this article is far outweighed by the benefits of accurately summarizing the trends in the relative purchasing power of the middle class. I will see your MLP:FIM episode and raise you Matthew 25:40. EllenCT (talk) 18:29, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. This is a high level (and very long) article. There are more appropriate places for the details.Mattnad (talk) 14:00, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
No reasons have been stated that summarization of these statistics is either unnecessary or undue. EllenCT (talk) 18:29, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
No reason has been stated that they are vital for a basic understanding of the country. The article already mentions inequality, so what more does this proposal add to that? You need to justify your request rather than us justifying our rejection. But that's difficult because you've proposed adding a sentence without actually proposing the sentence itself; if we had something concrete to work with then that would be easier. And I don't mean this as a slight against you but an advisory: People swooping in with a link saying "add something about this" often simply leave without caring because they're usually trolls. I'm not saying you're a troll like them, I'm saying what you're doing is as easy to dismiss as what they do, so having something more concrete to discuss would be extremely helpful. --Golbez (talk) 18:43, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
We should characterize the period during the economic recovery when the lower 90% of income earners lost real income, and the rate at which the top 0.01% has been increasing at the expense of the 99.99%, which are relatively new phenomena. However, I am not sure whether it will be reasonable to also mention the 1%/99% split, because the curve is smooth enough that would probably be redundant. I will compose a concrete proposal in terms of trends in the relative purchasing power of the middle class soon. EllenCT (talk) 19:25, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

How about "Low and middle incomes have fallen while high incomes have risen because wage increases have not been linked to productivity gains, and because of a lack of pay equity and an unemployment safety net at living wages;" citing Tcherneva (2015), followed by, "instead, incomes have diverged and inequalities have widened," citing Milanovic (2012). Please see also Milanovic's graph. EllenCT (talk) 20:51, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Where are you suggesting this sentence be added, then? Looking at the Income, poverty, and wealth subsection, we already have a sentence stating that low and middle incomes have fallen, and that the top 1% have gotten most of the gains. I'm still not seeing what this sentence adds beyond what is already present. Or could this be simply remedied by adding a source to an existing sentence, with a minor tweak? --Golbez (talk) 21:14, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Even as someone who is frightened by the growing income inequality in America, this is no place to spout these ideas. It's WP:UNDUE and WP:SOAPBOX. The above sentence in Golbez's comment is satisfactory. PointsofNoReturn (talk) 22:47, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
The solution proposed by Golbez is a good one IMHO. A minor tweak to an existing sentence to accommodate the new source(s) would be a good way to avoid WP:UNDUE and WP:SOAPBOX issues. It would also be a good idea to bundle the sources together into one footnote.--C.J. Griffin (talk) 00:01, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

How about "...because wage increases have not been linked to productivity gains, and because of a lack of pay equity and a lack of an employment safety net at living wages;[1] instead, incomes have diverged and inequalities have widened.[2]


  1. ^ Tcherneva, Pavlina R. (April 2015). "When a rising tide sinks most boats: trends in US income inequality" (PDF). Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Milanovic, Branko (November 2012). "Global Income Inequality by the Numbers: in History and Now" (PDF). The World Bank. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 

We should also find the US version of Milanovic's graph comparing China to the world. That may be available from Saez (2013) and/or the Mother Jones infographic. EllenCT (talk) 03:38, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Would a description of the shrinking incomes of the American middle class be better or worse than an international comparison? EllenCT (talk) 14:37, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
The NYT source is by far the most mainstream least controversial source provided, albeit left leaning. Modification of an existing sentence, without making it any longer or shorter (not including reference(s)), would update the context, and can be bundled with the existing source per WP:CITEBUNDLE. Expansion would lead to WP:UNDUE.
Also if this is allowed, perhaps the growth of the total federal budget and growth of entitlement spending can be shoehorned somewhere. But IMHO such things belong in sub-articles and no need to add that here in any significant detail.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 04:36, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
No need to shoehorn that rubbish into the article, as it is well known that the so-called "think tank" known as "The Heritage Foundation" is funded by huge corporations and spews propaganda in support of a neoliberal agenda. Academic studies have exposed this: [12] [13] They have been caught in lie after lie. Actual studies by experts on welfare and poverty contend that in fact the social welfare state has been in retreat since the advent of the neoliberal era (circa 1980) and has been largely replaced by a "post-welfare punitive state."--C.J. Griffin (talk) 13:04, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
"NeoLiberal" is a derogatory term, as shown at Talk:Conservatism. I am not saying that Heritage Foundation is not an opinionated source, however EllenCT is also providing opinionated sources. Please see WP:BIASED.
If POVs from opinionated views that are left of the political spectrum are seen as valid, yet opinionated views from the right are not seen as valid, it leads to non-neutral content, thus leading us to question whether the article is in fact neutral as required by WP:WIAGA.
One person's "rubbish" is another persons valid point. As we have seen in this discussion. Entitlement spending as a percentage of the total federal budget and GDP has gone up, not down. Even non-conservative source CNN verifies this.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 19:30, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Well, given this international comparison, what do you think total entitlement spending as a percent of GDP should be optimally? Isn't it highly sensitive to the age demographics of the population? EllenCT (talk) 15:15, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

How about, "...because wage increases have not been linked to productivity gains, and because of a lack of pay equity and a lack of an employment safety net at living wages;[1] instead, incomes have diverged and inequalities have widened.[2][3]" EllenCT (talk) 15:16, 23 April 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Tcherneva, Pavlina R. (April 2015). "When a rising tide sinks most boats: trends in US income inequality" (PDF). Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  2. ^ Casselman, Ben (September 22, 2014). "The American Middle Class Hasn’t Gotten A Raise In 15 Years". FiveThirtyEightEconomics. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Parlapiano, Alicia; Gebeloff, Robert; Carter, Shan (January 26, 2013). "The Shrinking American Middle Class". The Upshot (New York Times). Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
It can also be said that it is due to increased immigration, legal and illegal.
My stance is that this WP:SOAPBOX need not be in this article. There are other articles about this (their primary subject). Please add this content there, such as at the article Income inequality in the United States.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 00:10, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
There doesn't seem to be a more pressing issue facing American society. Even obesity, smoking, and conflict are dwarfed by its magnitude in years of productive (i.e. self-sustaining) life lost due to market failure. If you think my proposal is biased, which SOAPBOX implies, then how would you balance it? EllenCT (talk) 15:49, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
It's a pressing issue for sure (not sure it's the most pressing, but that's a matter of opinion), but for me it's a matter of where we expand on it. This is a huge article already. So we can mention it's an issue, and have links to articles that expand in depth.Mattnad (talk) 17:45, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Those are opinions. Just cause an editor believes it is a "pressing issue" doesn't make it a "pressing issue". Why not just include a link in a hatnote (like a see also link) for an appropriate section, and leave it be. If someone is interested in reading on that subject, they can clock on it. If they aren't they don't.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 03:32, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Agree with RCLC. I'm not so sure "pressing issues" belong in a summary article. This article might benefit as a summary article by primarily treating issues which find their way into reliable scholarly sources published in academic journals or peer reviewed publishing houses -- rather than featuring items ripped from the headlines based on statistics which are then revised within ninety days. Such an editorial guideline might serve to slow the volatility of the page. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:43, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
Is years of productive life lost an objective measure? I would rather proceed on the mainstream view that it is, and that it is the correct measure of issue magnitude when deciding the most appropriate statistics for national summary articles. Immigration is one of several influencing factors, but the tax structure, fiscal, and monetary policy, and the way they influence education outcomes, along with actual education outcomes, are larger influences on income inequality. Therefore, I also propose including sources including such comparisons of the causes and effects on both income inequality and education outcomes, along with mainstream concordant policy recommendations. EllenCT (talk) 13:35, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@EllenCT: please do not make bold changes to the article without consensus, while this topic is under discussion, it shows bad faith. There is no consensus to support the expansion which was done. Therefore, I have reverted it. Please, do not start an edit war by reverting my reversion.
Also I highly dispute this removal of a reliable source. See WP:BIASED. Just cause one editor sees the source as "right-wing" doesn't make it any more or less valid. Imagine if any editor came by and removed all sources they viewed as "left-wing" (or vice versa). Doing such things create non-neutral articles which would remove this article's GA status, as it would no longer meet WP:WIAGA.
This attack on sources, especially sources that some editors view as "right-wing", does nothing but make Wikipedia in general "left-wing" by making other sources invalid, and thus flies in the face of the pillar of neutrality. It shouldn't be done here, or elsewhere. Stop please.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 17:12, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Much of the material you deleted was either decided to be replaced by the recent RFC closure, or new sources supporting existing statements. I have replaced that, and revise my proposal to re-insert the phrase, "Additionally, the lack of income increases commensurate with productivity, the gender pay gap, and the erosion of unemployment safety net welfare at living wages have caused a rise [in the share of total annual income received by the top 1 percent....]" EllenCT (talk) 17:49, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
RightCowLeftCoast facepalms.
No, the RfC closed in Mid April does not include adding new content. The RfC said nothing about gender pay gap, or "erosion of unemployment safety net". The RfC is no excuse to shoehorn more of EllenCT's "pressing issues" into this article.
This article is not meant to advance the agenda supported be EllenCT. This article is to give a summary view of the United States. The subjects EllenCT has been campaigning to include, are best handled in sub-articles whose scope is far more focused on those subjects than this article. Again, please stop.
I kindly ask others to weight in on this, what I am beginning to see as civil POV pushing.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:51, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
My agenda is to create an article which covers all of the issues above a certain level of importance, as objectively measured as possible. What you see as POV pushing is my attempt to clean up after you and your fellow travelers' overly abundant suggestions that income inequality increases instead of decreases economic growth, a discredited view with many adherents, just like homeopathy, scattered remnants of both which still tarnish the encyclopedia. EllenCT (talk) 21:03, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

A summary of sub-articles can be included per WP:SUMMARY. But these should be carefully edited to avoid forcing a particular POV. - Cwobeel (talk) 20:19, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Also, opinions should be attributed per WP:ATTRIBUTEPOV and not rendered in Wikipedia's voice. - Cwobeel (talk) 20:21, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree, and revise my proposal to include, "According to Pavlina Tcherneva at Bard College's Levy Economics Institute, the lack of income increases commensurate with productivity, the gender pay gap, and the erosion of unemployment safety net welfare at living wages have caused a rise [in the share of total annual income received by the top 1 percent....]" EllenCT (talk) 21:03, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

The link for note 'c' in the infobox does not work[edit]

The "^" link for note 'c' in the infobox, which appears to be trying to link to the "Area" stat in the box, is currently not functional.

Fixed and thank you.--Chamith (talk) 06:28, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Changes in relationship between education and income[edit]

Since there are several WP:SUMMARY sub-articles dealing with income, education, government spending, taxation, and fiscal policy, most of which discuss their inter-relationships, I propose including "Why American Workers Without Much Education Are Being Hammered". The Upshot (New York Times). April 21, 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015. , here with the summary, "From 1990 to 2013, workers with high school education or less have lost more wages than those with college degrees have gained." I further propose that we include a discussion of the return on education investment and the impact of declining middle class wages on the affordability of higher education, and the resulting fiscal impact on tax revenue. EllenCT (talk) 15:37, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

Nay. WP:UNDUE. Please do not split the topic of discussion. This "pressing issue", is already in discussion above, just in another form down here. Please, this isn't see how many balls we can kick towards the goal, and see how many get in.
I have suggested a compromise of using See also hat notes in the appropriate section. But even there I am cautious. Let us not overlink, and let us not create paragraph length hatnotes to highlight certain subjects. Perhaps this is better integrated into sub-articles such as Economy of the United States rather than this high level article.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 16:43, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
It is a related issue, but only partially overlapping with income inequality. If the issue fit in just one or more sub-articles, I would not be proposing it here. EllenCT (talk) 17:52, 25 April 2015 (UTC)
I think your recent inclusion of immigration impact on income inequality was excellent, and I hope you will please reconsider your stance on including the causal links both to and from exemplary education policies, such as Oregon within and Germany and the industrialized nordic internationally. EllenCT (talk) 20:45, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
When did I say my inclusion of immigration impact was excellent?
IMHO the above suggestion by EllenCT is best left in sub-articles specific to sub-articles whose primary subject is specific to those areas, and not this article. Including my own edit. But since EllenCT has continued to add content here, I might as well do so as well (my one sentence compared to the multitude of sentences added by EllenCT).--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:08, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
Do you think this article should give equal weight to those who believe income inequality causes growth and those who know it inhibits it? If this article were governed according to WP:UNDUE, right-wing views would properly be sidelined and marginalized because the demographic center of Americans' political preferences is to the left of the Democrats. That is not an opinion, it is a fact about the opinions of Americans on a per-capita instead of a per-dollar basis. Of all the factors influencing and influenced by the economic trends of recent decades, immigration is small potatoes compared to education. If your idea of an excellent encyclopedia article emphasizes topics according to your discredited political preferences, then perhaps your skills would better serve your fellow citizens by editing Conservapedia. EllenCT (talk) 23:18, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
@RightCowLeftCoast: is there any evidence opposed, in support of your position? EllenCT (talk) 00:18, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
I cannot believe what is being stated here by EllenCT, that neutral is predominantly left-wing views, and that Wikipedia should advance that POV. My political views also have zero relevance to this discussion. So leave those out of it.
Again, As I stated, my addition as well as the additions of EllenCT should be left in appropriate subarticles, with at best, see also links to the articles which have these subjects as primary subjects of those articles. This section is about the Economy of the United States. Unless that article is massively imbalanced as well, this section should not be imbalanced.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 02:28, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
You are the one who cited UNDUE, and you claim that your politics entitle you to balance statements with which you disagree, apparently even when those opinions are contrary to facts. Do you believe that the mainstream flows between the corporate parties or between the parties and the people? We have discussed Americans' political preferences in detail. If you can not see how the mistake attributing income inequality to the promotion of economic growth caused the current state of affairs, I will be happy to walk you through it step-by-step as many times as is necessary. But for now, please answer the question: Is there any evidence in support of your assertion that immigration has had a greater impact on income inequality than education in the united states? (A different sub-article which doesn't overlap with the economics article.) EllenCT (talk) 02:39, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict)@EllenCT: I will no longer enter into discussions with EllenCT seeing as EllenCT showed bad faith with this post. I understand that EllenCT believes that the way they are editing is best for Wikipedia, even if I do not share that view. Without a civil editing environment continuing this discussion only leads to conditions that fly in the face of policy. G'day.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 02:48, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

So instead of answering the question, you make accusations of incivility? On what grounds? If you go around saying 1+1=0 then don't say that people correcting you are unfriendly. You have had ample opportunity to present any evidence that supports your opinions. EllenCT (talk) 03:23, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
@EllenCT: Comment on the edits and not on the editor. Otherwise, editing becomes impossible and WP:BATTLEGROUND ensues. Not the best way to go about it in my experience. - Cwobeel (talk) 03:27, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps your comment should be directed at the party making unfounded accusations of incivility instead of addressing the question of whether their opinions are unsupported by facts. Please see Graham's Hierarchy of Disagreement. EllenCT (talk) 03:38, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
EllenCT, politically speaking, I am on your side of the aisle. But your approach here is really disturbing when you are not capable to realize that comments from you such as If your idea of an excellent encyclopedia article emphasizes only the topics according to your discredited political preferences, then perhaps your skills would better serve your fellow citizens by editing Conservapedia, are utterly useless in a discussion about how to improve an article. - Cwobeel (talk) 13:48, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Of course such niche, opinionated soapboxing isn't appropriate in this article, and this latest of many pushes flooding this page is just part of a larger crusade to, as another poster aptly put it, kick as many balls as possible toward the goal to see how many she can get in. Ellen's claim that, "...right-wing views would properly be sidelined and marginalized because the demographic center of Americans' political preferences is to the left of the Democrats. That is not an opinion, it is a fact" while suggesting another poster who's concerned about neutrality should be editing "Conservapedia" instead is not only ludicrous and demonstrably false but says more about her editing here than anyone else could. VictorD7 (talk) 19:51, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Do you have any evidence that the influence of immigration or any other factor on income inequality has been greater, or will be greater, than that described in [14]? EllenCT (talk) 04:57, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
What, globalization and technology? Arguably immigration is another aspect of globalization, and it certainly at least exacerbates the plight of American workers. Unionization and to a lesser extent the minimum wage also contributed to American workers becoming expensive enough that much of the manufacturing sector transferred overseas. But none of that has anything to do with my point that this debatable stuff is a niche topic, and soapboxing doesn't belong in the article anyway. For perspective, Americans still have one of the highest median incomes in the world (by far the highest of any large nation), even one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the world, and both globalization and the rise of high end technology has enormously benefited people in other ways, especially as consumers. These are very complex issues that don't lend themselves well to brief treatments in a broad summary article like this. VictorD7 (talk) 18:44, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Any sources comparing the magnitudes? Everyone is affected by the economic effects of education levels, including resulting tax collected, but immigrants and outsourcing represent a much smaller proportion of workers affected. EllenCT (talk) 21:23, 4 May 2015 (UTC)

Contemporary history[edit]

I have some proposals for changes to the contemporary history subsection:

1: I propose the removal of the mention of NAFTA from the contemporary history section. NAFTA is already discussed in the foreign relations section (where I feel it better belongs), making its further mention in the history section redundant. In addition, I feel that the current mention is also clunky, non-chronological, and overly-detailed. If any mention of NAFTA is to remain in the history section, I would propose that it be greatly reduced in detail (certainly no more than a sentence) and placed in a more sensible location chronologically (certainly before 9/11, as it was formed in 1994, and was a major political issue mainly in the 1990s). But it is my opinion that NAFTA is simply not historically significant enough to merit mention in the history section with its current low level of detail (which I think is ideal). I will note that NAFTA is mentioned once in the body of the article on Canada (a FA), in the economy section, and once in the article on Mexico, in the history section (excluding mentions in the leads of both articles).

2: I propose the removal of the precise date range given for the Great Recession. I feel that giving these exact dates is far over-detailed. I also feel that the previous ambiguity given to the start and end dates of the recession was ideal, as whether or not the recession actually ended in 2009 is highly debatable. The source given in the article ascertains these dates for the recession by examining the dates at which the business cycle was at its peak and at its trough. For comparison, If we applied this standard to the Great Depression, we would date it from August 1929 to March 1933. But we don’t do this (at least not here); both because that would be far too detailed, and also because it isn't really true; virtually any non-economist living in the country would have said we were still in an economic depression long after March 1933. The case is very similar with 2009.

3: I propose the removal of the portion of the text referring to Barack Obama as the first multiracial president. While this is true (as far as we know), I don't feel that this fact is one worth mentioning in this broad overview of American history. As has been discussed previously, the primary reason Obama is mentioned at all is because he is the first African American president, and this is what makes him particularly historically notable. While personally I'm still on the fence about whether this alone is sufficient reason to mention him, I certainly feel that the further mention of his multi-racial heritage is excessive in detail.

You may have noticed that the application of these changes would largely bring the subsection back to the way it was previously, immediately after the large-scale summarization we went through some time ago. This is not a coincidence. There is a clear tendency for this subsection to grow in length over time. I think it is important for us to keep this in check, making sure the level of detail in the subsection is not disproportionate to that in the other areas of the history section. Allowing a higher level of detail here just because the events described occured more recently is textbook recentism.

I will apply any changes without objection in a few days. --Philpill691 (talk) 00:28, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Leave the NAFTA element in. Contemporary history is to range from 1991-present. The NAFTA agreement began to phase in 1994 and was complete in 2008. It is one of the largest free trade areas in the world, which has great significance relative to the ability of the U.S. to recover from the Great Recession faster than the Europeans. It is significant enough to remain as a consensus element of contemporary history. In foreign relations, NAFTA is an exemplar of the U.S. openness in international cooperation for free trade as noted in that section. The mention of NAFTA in one section need not be mutually exclusive for mention in another for different purposes.
On the other hand, the Foreign relations or Contemporary history section is missing the “special relationship” the U.S. fosters with military allies to form international coalitions of the willing for humanitarian and punitive purposes as sanctioned by international organizations such as UN, NATO, OAS or the Arab League in the 21st century modern era. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:27, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
IMHO the multiracial background of the current President is just as important as the fact his father was an immigrant from Africa. I also agree with TVH on the importance of NAFTA and other multinational alliances formed by the United States in the 20th and 21st centuries. Furthermore, I do agree with Philpill691's suggestion of removing dates of the great recession, especially since public perception still sees it as an ongoing event (as late as January 2015, June 2014, March 2014).--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 20:52, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
"Public perception" is not what counts here. What counts are the reliable sources that speak about the end of that recession. - Cwobeel (talk) 21:21, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
There are plenty of RSs that describe the end of the recession, despite what the good folks at Fox News say. The U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research is the official arbiter of U.S. recessions, per the source used. - Cwobeel (talk) 21:27, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Anyone here believes that mentioning the first black/multiracial president is not relevant or noteworthy? I mean, really? - Cwobeel (talk) 21:29, 26 April 2015 (UTC)
Not just Fox News, but HuffPo and Pew Research as well. Why only mention Fox News?
Fact is, polls indicate while statistically economist say the economy has turned around, many people do not agree with economist say.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 18:06, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
We can mention polls on public sentiments if you want, but recessions are based on very specific economic metrics. See Recession. - Cwobeel (talk) 23:32, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
If we provide unusually specific NBER defined dates for this recession for some reason, we should also point out that this has been the worst recovery in US history ([15], [16], [17], [18], [19]). The still overwhelmingly negative "public sentiment" is based on very real factors, including a sharp decline in median income over the past several years, anemic GDP growth (even this past quarter only saw annualized growth at 0.2%), and a lousy job market that's seen both the labor participation rate fall to its lowest point since the 1970s and what new jobs have been created since the last peak in 2007 mostly going to immigrants ([20]). And it's not just conservatives and business reporters saying this is an unusually weak recovery, but left wingers (the kind of people who use "Fox News" out of the blue as an insult; [21]), though of course they put a different spin on the causes, both insisting the anemic recovery was "expected" and somewhat contradictorily blaming Obama era policies like an alleged lack of spending. The truth is that there has been an L shaped recovery unlike the V shaped ones that have followed other sharp recessions, almost certainly due to record shattering spending increases and deficits, tax hikes, massive regulatory expansions, and rhetoric from an anti-business administration poisoning the climate to the point where some of Obama's former high profile supporters (like Steve Jobs) felt compelled to publicly admonish him. At this point we'll be due for the next cyclical recession before we've recovered from the last one.
Regardless of one's stance on these issues, the bottom line is that the technical NBER recession from late 2007 through early 2009, by itself, isn't noteworthy enough to include in this History section when other recessions, even extremely serious ones, aren't mentioned. What is worth noting is the ongoing economic stagnation that has plagued the nation for several years. That's what makes the downturn worth mentioning at all. Therefore if the specific NBER dates are kept in the article, we need to mention the disastrously anemic recovery since then to avoid warping our description of reality. VictorD7 (talk) 19:56, 30 April 2015 (UTC)


I don't see a discussion about imbalance in the "Income, poverty and wealth" section. Unless a discussion is started, the tag will be removed.- Cwobeel (talk) 21:24, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

I suggest a discussion of the economic aspects of education would balance the new discussion of immigration. EllenCT (talk) 00:38, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
The imbalance, is due to heavy insertion of content by EllenCT which lead to the ongoing discussion which is ongoing above. With all the content newly added by EllenCT, one sentence (which is referenced to a reliable source) added by myself is not "balanced". Unfortunately, the imbalance template does not have an area which links to a specific talk page section as discuss inline does.
If we look at the content added to the section, primarily by EllenCT since this article was elevated to GA status, it has unbalanced a section which arguably was already skewed to begin with. Therefore, IMHO, the tag which Cwobeel removed, was appropriate.
I have attempted to propose compromises to EllenCT to no avail it seems. Therefore, as EllenCT has continue to edit the section, I followed their lead by adding one single sentence recently. And now EllenCT is asking for balance? When previously, addition of content (many more characters than my insertion of one sentence with supporting reference) by EllenCT IMHO was one sided and caused the imbalance in the first place.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 17:59, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
You have presented no evidence that immigration has had a greater impact on income inequality than the costs and benefits of education. It absolutely would balance the article to mention more substantial causes instead of less important causes that you favor. EllenCT (talk) 02:46, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

I took a look side-by-side GA version and current version, and could not identify the imbalance you mention. Can you be more specific? here are the two versions. - Cwobeel (talk) 18:46, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

GA version

Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD nations, and in 2007 had the second highest median household income.[1][2] According to the Census Bureau real median household income was $50,502 in 2011, down from $51,144 in 2010.[3] The Global Food Security Index ranked the U.S. number one for food affordability and overall food security in March 2013.[4] Americans on average have over twice as much living space per dwelling and per person as European Union residents, and more than every EU nation.[5] For 2013 the United Nations Development Programme ranked the United States 5th among 187 countries in its Human Development Index and 28th in its inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI).[6]

There has been a widening gap between productivity and median incomes since the 1970s.[7] While inflation-adjusted ("real") household income had been increasing almost every year from 1947 to 1999, it has since been flat and even decreased recently.[8] The rise in the share of total annual income received by the top 1 percent, which has more than doubled from 9 percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2011, has had a significant impact on income inequality,[9] leaving the United States with one of the widest income distributions among OECD nations.[10][11][12] The post-recession income gains have been very uneven, with the top 1 percent capturing 95 percent of the income gains from 2009 to 2012.[13]

Wealth, like income and taxes, is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population possess 72% of the country's household wealth, while the bottom half claim only 2%.[14] Those earning in the top 10% paid 49.6% of all federal, state, and local taxes in 2014.[15] Growing income inequality and wealth concentration have resulted in affluent individuals, powerful business interests and other economic elites gaining increased influence over public policy.[16][17][18]

Since peaking in the second quarter of 2007, household wealth is down $14 trillion.[19] At the end of 2008, household debt amounted to $13.8 trillion.[20]

There were about 643,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the U.S. in January 2009, with almost two-thirds staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. In 2011 16.7 million children lived in food-insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels, though only 1.1% of U.S. children, or 845,000, saw reduced food intake or disrupted eating patterns at some point during the year, and most cases were not chronic.[21] According to a 2014 report by the Census Bureau, one in five young adults lives in poverty today, up from one in seven in 1980.[22]

Current version

Americans have the highest average household and employee income among OECD nations, and in 2007 had the second highest median household income.[1][2] According to the Census Bureau real median household income was $50,502 in 2011, down from $51,144 in 2010.[23] The Global Food Security Index ranked the U.S. number one for food affordability and overall food security in March 2013.[24] Americans on average have over twice as much living space per dwelling and per person as European Union residents, and more than every EU nation.[5] For 2013 the United Nations Development Programme ranked the United States 5th among 187 countries in its Human Development Index and 28th in its inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI).[25] There has been a widening gap between productivity and median incomes since the 1970s.[26] While inflation-adjusted ("real") household income had been increasing almost every year from 1947 to 1999, it has since been flat and even decreased recently.[27] According to Congressional Research Service, during this same period, immigration to the United States increased, while the lower 90% of tax filers incomes became stagnant, and eventually decreasing since 2000.[28]

The rise in the share of total annual income received by the top 1 percent, which has more than doubled from 9 percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2011, has had a significant impact on income inequality,[9] leaving the United States with one of the widest income distributions among OECD nations.[10] The post-recession income gains have been very uneven, with the top 1 percent capturing 95 percent of the income gains from 2009 to 2012.[29] According to an article published in Perspectives on Politics, growing income inequality and wealth concentration have resulted in affluent individuals, powerful business interests and other economic elites gaining increased influence over public policy.[30][disputed ]

Wealth, like income and taxes, is highly concentrated; the richest 10% of the adult population possess 72% of the country's household wealth, while the bottom half claim only 2%.[31] Between June 2007 and November 2008 the global recession led to falling asset prices around the world. Assets owned by Americans lost about a quarter of their value.[32] Since peaking in the second quarter of 2007, household wealth is down $14 trillion.[33] At the end of 2008, household debt amounted to $13.8 trillion.[34]

There were about 643,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons in the U.S. in January 2009, with almost two-thirds staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. In 2011 16.7 million children lived in food-insecure households, about 35% more than 2007 levels, though only 1.1% of U.S. children, or 845,000, saw reduced food intake or disrupted eating patterns at some point during the year, and most cases were not chronic.[35] According to a 2014 report by the Census Bureau, one in five young adults lives in poverty today, up from one in seven in 1980.[36]

"Since peaking in the second quarter of 2007, household wealth is down $14 trillion." should be "...was down $14 trillion but by 2015 had regained $14 trillion above 2006 levels."[22] per #No consensus to revert to out of date, inaccurate 2009 descriptions of 2008 recession (RFC) above. And again, a discussion of the impact of education on income inequality, and vice-versa would serve to balance the new addition on immigration. EllenCT (talk) 03:37, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
There has been three sentences added to the first paragraph, increasing the POV of class warfare, and one which increases the relationship of wage with immigrant population growth.
Second paragraph has been widely edited by EllenCT to conform with the POV of the sources provided by editor.
Third paragraph has been modified, as per RfC merging the third and fourth paragraphs in the GA version
Last paragraph is largely unchanged.--RightCowLeftCoast (talk) 02:38, 29 April 2015 (UTC)
Are you claiming that replacing assertions based on the mistaken proposition that income inequality promotes growth is tantamount to class warfare? The RFC results supported the inclusion. How would you prefer that such corrections be made? EllenCT (talk) 02:43, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Problem with inaccuracy and bias in the disputed productivity/income graph and sentence.[edit]

The graph juxtaposing "productivity" and "real median family income" in the Income, poverty, and wealth section and its companion sentence.."There has been a widening gap between productivity and median incomes since the 1970s.[403]" sourced entirely by an opinion piece by EPI, a liberal think tank. The graph is based on the group's own original calculations. Numerous sources dispute it and similar presentations (which most frequently appear on liberal blogs as a talking point), critiquing both the methodology involved and the relevance of the comparison (e.g. conservative think tank [23], St. Louis Federal Reserve [24]; even a liberal leaning think tank has acknowledged the methodological problems involved [25]).

Criticisms include comparing total productivity to "median" income (as opposed to mean; in other words apples and oranges), using data from two different sets that are based on different inflation adjusters (IPD for productivity and CPI for income; also apples and oranges), using annual income rather than hourly when people are working fewer hours, failing to capture all of the increased benefits workers have been compensated with in recent decades, and failing to account for factors like technology-driven depreciation increases and import price measurement problems that overstate productivity. Adjusting for these and other factors has led to alternative charts being produced (see the first two criticism links listed at the end of the above paragraph) that look very different than what's currently being given unchallenged authority in Wikipedia's voice. Additional complicating factors include productivity rises not necessarily occurring in the sectors where most people work and such charts being skewed by postwar incomes growing with aberrational speed.

Given these various vital problems, WP:NPOV policy is in gross violation and I propose the graph and sentence be deleted. The alternative would be to add sources to the text sentence and dramatically expand the chart caption the way it was on the Economy of the United States page (scroll down slightly), but that's an extreme bloat that would be unlike any other picture on the United States page and would still leave a skewed and unnecessary visual presentation. It works on the Economy page because that's a more specialized, lower traffic article. Here deletion would be better. VictorD7 (talk) 22:26, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

If you use the mean income, that tracks productivity well. The median income also used to very tightly correlate with productivity, but it hasn't since 1973, as has been illustrated by a graph in this article which has been there for at least a year. The right-wing think tank sources you cite would prefer that you remain ignorant of the distinction, or at least their patrons would. EllenCT (talk) 04:54, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
No, educating people like you on the distinction was their point. Your graph doesn't compare median income to median productivity, and, even setting aside the fact that your chart only starts at 1947 and shows a correlation for about 20 years, there's no reason to assume given the rise of technology that productivity or income gains would be evenly distributed throughout the population. Also, I cited right and left wing sources critiquing EPI's methodology and you didn't address the other problems I listed. Even if you somehow manage to disagree with their arguments at the very least a rational person has to acknowledge that the material is disputed on both accuracy and relevance. VictorD7 (talk) 18:25, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
How is it even mathematically possible for mean income to decouple from productivity growth the way median income did in the 1970s? That would require huge macroeconomic or monetary policy effects dozens of times those observed. The last link in your first paragraph of this section doesn't work, but the underlying PDF confirms that part of the reason for the decoupling is the very well documented income shift from labor to capital. I am indeed skeptical of the other factors described therein, and their characterization. EllenCT (talk) 21:19, 4 May 2015 (UTC)
The last link (to a cached version of the liberal think tank piece; they had moved their pdf) works for me, but our respective opinions on the factors involved don't really matter. I've shown that 1. The graph and sentence are original creations of a liberal group and 2. the material and its significance is highly disputed. VictorD7 (talk) 19:46, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

False characterization of tax progressiveness and weasel words[edit]

I object to [26] and [27] because they are a false characterization of tax progressiveness, among other things and including WP:WEASEL words. EllenCT (talk) 13:19, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Your second link has nothing to do with tax progressivity and was simply me revising your recent income inequality addition for neutrality and appropriately broad detail level at this summary article level. We can objectively and neutrally mention that this is a subject of debate, including sources from both sides to support the point, but we shouldn't cherry-pick a hotly disputed partisan talking point and present the opinion unchallenged in Wikipedia's voice. WP:NPOV is policy, not a suggestion. It's also probably not the place to break down every aspect of both sides' arguments in detail. That's better suited for other, more topically specific articles.
Your first link is a botched conflation of several different edits. If you meant to refer to my reversion of your recent Government finance alteration, do you really want to start down this road again after everything that's happened over the past couple of years? Unlike your inequality claims, the progressive nature of US taxation by international standards is not in serious dispute, and indeed the segment is sourced by references from across the ideological spectrum. There is nothing "false" nor weaselly about it. VictorD7 (talk) 19:55, 5 May 2015 (UTC)
I am in agreement with Ellen here. The statements and wording are natural and reflect the sourcing.Casprings (talk) 03:12, 6 May 2015 (UTC)