USC Panelists Discuss Income Inequality in California

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Accomplished financial executive James Kasim has spent 20 years in leadership roles at various companies including Ernst & Young and Pacific Office Properties Trust. In addition to having earned a BS in business administration and accounting from California State University Northridge and a CPA certification for the state of California, James Kasim holds a MBA from the University of Southern California at the Marshall School of Business.

In June 2016, the University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy and Dornsife Program for Environmental and Regional Equity presented a town hall meeting sponsored by the California Endowment to discuss how business and economy must change in order to address California’s waning middle class and income disparity issues.

Despite the US being the wealthiest country in the world, poverty is also a major issue for the country. While California’s middle class was average for US states in terms of income inequality in 1969, it is today ranked the number four most unequal state in the US with 300 districts in Los Angeles County alone ranking as some of the highest in the whole of the US.

The panelists, which included USC professor Manuel Pastor and former mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, pointed out the relationship between income inequality and race, and that when children of color are not receiving the same education as white children, they never have the chance to bridge the gap for race and income.

The participants discussed the need for supportive programs benefiting early childhood education and job training education at community colleges as well as universities. These sorts of initiatives could help support the California economy as a whole, as unequal economies don’t tend to grow easily or become very strong, as Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. panelist Bill Allen pointed out.

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