I’ve written here before about my concern over American inequity, how our political and economic systems are skewed in favor of the well-to-do. I return to the subject as the pandemic grinds on and I see the unfairness continue.
Some facts: The wealthiest 10 percent of Americans own more than 50 percent of the nation’s household income. The top 1 percent take home 21 percent of all the income in the United States. In the year 2022, three multibillionaires own more wealth than the bottom half of American society–160 million Americans. And 45 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent. CEOs of large corporations make a record-breaking 350 times what their workers earn. In the wealthiest country in the world, nearly 40 million people (11 percent) live in poverty.
I am reminded of the falsehood of Ronald Reagan’s “trickle-down” description of the economy. As a man of great wealth himself (net worth $120 million), he slashed taxes on affluent Americans with the promise that this extra money would go to the middle class. It never did, and I’m sure that he and his advisors knew perfectly well that it wouldn’t. The rich are remarkable in their ability to find ways to avoid paying taxes.
It’s long since time that the Democratic party take on the income inequality in the U.S. and find ways to even out the distribution of wealth. One way would be to make college education affordable for all—those with a degree are better paid than those without. College education used to be affordable, when state universities charged very low rates for citizens.
But that’s just one step. Another would be to eliminate all the tax shelters and escapes used by the rich. Still another would be to establish decent minimum wage. It’s now $7.25 an hour; it ought to be at least $15.00 an hour.
We Americans must face up to our responsibility to make the U.S. the promised land. Income inequality in the U.S. is the highest of all the G7 nations, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It’s time to change.