I wasn’t planning to do another post on the injustice of the American income distribution, but yesterday morning Robert Reich posted his report titled “The Week Ahead: The Four Horsemen of the Neoliberal Apocalypse.” In it, he reported data new to me about our deeply rooted monetary unfairness.
Among Reich’s findings is that even before the pandemic, three economic factors shaped us: first, more than one out of every six America children was impoverished, often without enough food or adequate shelter. Second, the typical American family was living precariously from paycheck to paycheck. And third, a record high share of national wealth was already surging to the top.
Exemplary of our national dilemma was the effect of the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. Child poverty instantly dropped by at least a third, and the typical family gained some breathing space.
Financial inequity is rampant in the U.S. Billionaires in the U.S., for example, pay only 8.2 percent of their income in taxes, whereas the rest of us pay 25.4 percent. The top 1 percent of earners in the United States account for about 20 percent of the country’s total income annually. Meanwhile, the lowest-earning quarter of Americans account for just 3.7 percent of income every year.
As I said earlier in this blog, the U.S. is the greatest nation that has ever existed on the face of the earth, but it is marred by glaring flaws. One of them is the flagrant inequities that shape our lives. The time for us to address the unfairness of income has long since passed. Let’s get to it.