Congressional Research Service. March 7, 2012.
Approaching three years into the recovery from the 2007-2009 recession, the unemployment rate remains over 8%. The persistent difficulty of many of the workers who lost jobs to find reemployment has meant reduced incomes for them and their families. An historically slow rebound in the labor market appears to be partly responsible for some groups’ focus on the distribution of the benefits of economic growth and for some policymakers’ interest in redistributing income through the tax code, for example. Varying perceptions about a trade-off between economic growth and income equality appear to underlie longstanding congressional deliberations about such policy issues as the progressivity of income tax rates, the tax treatment of capital gains, and the adjustment of the federal minimum wage.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42400.pdf [PDF format, 21 pages].