James Parrott

James Parrott is the deputy director and chief economist of the Fiscal Policy Institute. He teaches at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College.


Recent Articles

Fiscal Purgatory in New York

How New York’s budget crisis was used to roll back expansive government  

AP Photo/Harvey Georges
Fear City: New York's Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics By Kim Phillips-Fein Metropolitan Books This article appears in the Summer 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Fortunes made in finance, real estate, and media give New York City more billionaires than any other single locale worldwide. With nearly half its population either in poverty or near poverty, it is not surprising that New York has the greatest income inequality among the 25 largest U.S. cities. Generally, inequality goes hand in hand with low mobility, but paradoxically, New York is the exception. Certain of the city’s public institutions and its tax policies provide opportunities for those starting in the lower income range. New York City has among the highest rates of upward mobility among all U.S. cities. Research by the Equality of Opportunity Project shows that the publicly supported City University of New York has one of the highest bottom-to-top mobility rates of...

Going Local in the Fight Against Inequality

What progressives can learn from de Blasio’s policies in New York City.

Mike Groll/AP Images
This article appears in the Fall 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . It has been five years since the Occupy movement focused attention on the gap in income between the top 1 percent and other Americans. During Barack Obama’s first term, Democrats made federal taxes more progressive and expanded health insurance for low- and middle-income people. But since those changes were adopted, conservative forces in Washington have stifled further progress toward greater income equality. Many liberals have therefore focused on local measures, despite some clear limitations to going local. Legally, cities and counties are creatures of their respective states and often face strict statutory limits on what they can do, including laws preempting local initiatives (see Abby Rapoport, “ Blue Cities, Red States ,” The American Prospect , Summer 2016). Cities and counties also face competition from other localities that offer tax abatements and other...

Heights of Privilege

How the rich get relief on property taxes—and what to do about it.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
This article appears in the Spring 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . If you want to learn about the latest manifestations of inequality in urban America, read the real-estate sections of newspapers and magazines and check out the photo spreads on luxury condos in new residential skyscrapers. The palatial size, lavish finishes, and breathtaking price tags of these properties are advertisements of our new Gilded Age. In the area immediately south of Central Park in Manhattan now known as Billionaire’s Row, condos at a half-dozen towers for the super-rich list for an average of $14.5 million. Buyers from abroad are common. The penthouse at 432 Park Avenue—the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere—went for $95 million to a Saudi. At One57, a residential skyscraper on 57th Street, the luxury penthouse was sold for $100.4 million, the buyer reported to be the prime minister of Qatar. About one-third of Manhattan condo sales...