It's one of the big facts of contemporary America: the widening gap between rich and poor. Income inequality has been such a widely debated issue in recent years that most people had settled opinions on the matter. At the start of 2012, a team of five Reuters reporters took up a challenge: Assume nothing about inequality and examine it anew. Where in America is the rich-poor gap widening most, and why? Does income inequality, per se, really matter to society, and how? What are the causes of deepening inequality, and can society do anything about them? The result was a three-part series, “The Unequal State of America,” that offered startling insight into the nature of inequality in the United States and the role played by government in exacerbating or alleviating it.