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Jennifer Ito and Marqueece Harris-Dawson: Solving Income Inequality

Jennifer Ito: There is a set of solutions about lifting up the bottom. I also believe that there are a set of strategies about growing the middle, the middle class kind of Labor market that community colleges, four-year colleges, our education system has a large role to play in terms of preparing the youth of today for the jobs of the future and I also think that there is a set of strategies where we need to be working with the business sector and government foundations to really think about the driving the jobs of the future and how we can invest in renewable energy or green tech, advanced manufacturing to really have Los Angeles lead again in the manufacturing sector as well.

Val Zavala: So if the answers are out there, how come they aren't being implemented? This gets to the tougher part of this. Why don't people care, why don't politicians care more, why don’t lower income people get more involved and advocate for themselves?

Marqueece Harris-Dawson: Well you know I think people do care. I think Los Angeles is a special place in that regard, but we should be clear, inequality, we focus on the people that suffer as a result of inequality; there are a lot of people who benefit because of inequality and those people don't want to give up those benefits and so at some point there has to be a confrontation. We have to say to folks: you can't capture and hold the majority of the benefits of a growing economy that we are all participating in creating. You participate with capital, we participate with labor, other participate with consumption. Everybody ought to be able to rise as the boat rises and we shouldn't have a situation where all of the benefits go to the capital class, and so I think that involves a confrontation. That is never fun, but it's what we have to do. It's the kind of struggle that leads to the creation of the kind of society we all deserve.

Jennifer Ito, Research Director at USC’s Program for Environmental, and Regional Equity and Marqueece Harris Dawson, Councilmember to L.A.’s 8th District, discuss how the issue of income inequality can be solved. 

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