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Land of the Free, Home of the Poor

inequality-page25The top 20% of Americans hold a record 84% of the nation's wealth while the bottom 40% own almost nothing.  Paul Solman recently interviewed people for a series on inequality for Public TV and showed people three pie charts with 1) an equal distribution of wealth, 2) the distribution of wealth in Sweden, and 3) the distribution of wealth in the United States.  Like Michael Norton and Dan Ariely found in their research on Americans' perceptions and preferences for the distribution of wealth, Paul Solman observed that most people don't realize the extent of inequality in America, probably because they live near others who have incomes that are relatively similar to their own.  Most people thought the distribution of wealth in the U.S. was that in the chart for Sweden and that is also the distribution they preferred rather than either perfect equality or the extreme concentration of wealth that actually exists in the U.S.

  Following are the charts representing the actual, perceived, and preferred distribution of wealth that Norton and Ariely found in their research:

The greatest concentration of wealth is at the "tippy-top," the people in the top 0.1%.  Norton and Ariely found that a remarkably similar 93% of Democrats and over 90% of Republicans prefer a more equal distribution of wealth.  Listen to Paul Salmon's 12 minute video:

Land of the Free, Home of the Poor

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In June 2012, Think Again MN launched a history series that examines politics and policy-making in Minnesota during the last century from the immediate post World War II years up through the 1990s. That era witnessed fierce legislative battles at the State Capitol but it was also a time of shared values that cut across partisan lines. 

Read about it here

MN's Leading Election System

MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


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Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

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Oregon's Automatic Voter Registration

How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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