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A new study of income inequality could be bad news for those expecting the GOP's tax cut to trickle down to the middle class. The report by the Brookings Institution found that some places saw shrinking gaps between the top and bottom of the income scale between 2014 and 2016 — but in other places, the gaps grew much larger.

Expand chart
Data: Brookings; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

Why this matters: This shows gains on one end of the income scale don't necessarily translate into gains at the other end, at least in the short term. It also suggests that different places have different economies, meaning one-size-fits-all national policy solutions aren't likely to be universally successful.

Expand chart
Data: Brookings; Chart: Chris Canipe / Axios

The back story: The report looks at income inequality levels for the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Key quote: "At least in the short run, city and metropolitan income trends do not suggest the existence of a rising tide lifting all boats, but rather separate ebbs and flows for households at different extremes of the distribution."

  • "Even if ... local innovation economies generate greater opportunities for workers in less-skilled industries, those opportunities may not materialize overnight, and low-income workers and families could get priced out of a city in the meantime."

Takeaways:

  • While more cities saw declines in income inequality from 2014-2016, more metropolitan areas saw increases in income equality over this time period.
  • Some of the biggest changes in income were among wealthy households in cities that are home to booming technology industries like San Francisco, Austin and Seattle.
  • Trends at the top of a place's income distribution "had little relationship" to trends at the bottom of the distribution.
  • Even if a place's income inequality ratio didn't change, the gap between different income groups' earnings could increase. For example, in San Francisco the ratio remained the same, but the gap between the 20th and 95th income percentile grew by $114,000.

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.