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S&P Agrees with the IMF, Bifurcation Hurting the Economic Growth Cycle

“Economists have long argued that a rising wealth gap has complicated the U.S. rebound from the Great Recession.

Now, an analysis by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s lends its weight to the argument: The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has made the economy more prone to boom-bust cycles and slowed the 5-year-old recovery from the recession.

Economic disparities appear to be reaching extremes that “need to be watched because they’re damaging to growth,” said Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P.

Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act, July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.

Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station’s Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act, July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.

The rising concentration of income among the top 1 percent of earners has contributed to S&P’s cutting its growth estimates for the economy. In part because of the disparity, it estimates that the economy will grow at a 2.5 percent annual pace in the next decade, down from a forecast five years ago of a 2.8 percent rate.

The S&P report advises against using the tax code to try to narrow the gap. Instead, it suggests that greater access to education would help ease wealth disparities….”

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