By MICHAEL GERSTEIN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Income inequality – long a social reality in America – may be permanent, a new study by the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., suggests. The study reveals continuing opulence for a few top-earners and an ever-slimmer slice of the economic pie for the rest. And the inequality gap in Michigan is wider than in many other states. It ranks as the 11th most unequal, according to Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard. Shrinking higher education funding, a deregulated financial market and weaker unions all contribute to the disparity, Ballard said.