Money in Seattle: What should we do about inequality?

Whenever we talk about wealth in Seattle, the conversation shifts toward a big issue: income inequality. As of 2016, the top 20 percent of earners were making more than half of the city’s total income. And in 2017, the percentage of local families making $200,000 or more was among the highest in the nation.

But income inequality isn’t just about the rich getting richer. Even though Seattle’s median family income is now around $121,000, those in the very bottom income tiers have seen their wages tick up only slightly — if at all. As The Seattle Times’ Gene Balk explains, those two forces working in tandem is what leads to greater income inequality.

So what do we do about this? For the third video in our wealth series, we asked folks to give their personal take on how Seattle’s money gets divided up — and what, if anything, should be done to change it. Here’s a sampling of what they had to say:

“I see a state income tax. I think the political will is there.” — Antoinette Angulo, whose household earns over $150,000

“I wouldn’t walk around giving people money. No, I wouldn’t do that. ‘Cause that ain’t gonna help anybody, right?” — Lakesha Johnson, who earns $38,000 and was formerly homeless

“What it really comes down to is sacrificing profit margins and sacrificing salaries at the very, very top.” — Cirrus Kain, who earns less than $30,000

“If someone’s going to take a role in it, I’d prefer it not to be an elected official in this city.”—- Nick Iacovino, whose household earns a combined $80,000

Check out the video to hear more, and go to our Facebook page to let us know what you think — If you could change one thing to address income inequality in Seattle for the whole city’s benefit, what would it be?

By Eric Keto
Eric is a video producer based in Seattle, Washington.