The Columbian Op-Ed: Climate woes, income inequality can be tackled together

In the wake of the Great Recession, it’s easy to forget that the American economy can be a powerful engine for opportunity.

But as the economy sputters back to life, it faces two great threats to broadly shared prosperity: Extreme inequity and disruptive climate change. We can tackle both by tackling them together. That’s our goal in working with a wide spectrum of community, business, labor, utility, and environmental leaders on Gov. Jay Inslee’s Carbon Emission Reduction Task Force.

America’s prosperity is threatened in part because it is so concentrated. The richest 1 percent of Americans own about 35 percent of the country’s total wealth, while the poorest 40 percent own less than 1 percent. The wealthiest 400 people own more than do 50 percent of the population.

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