There is a need to fix America’s unequal income distribution whereby a few individuals own most of the country’s wealth, while the majority of the population owns the least of the country’s wealth. The accumulated feeling of discontent has led to the current occupy Wall Street demonstrations (theGuardian 1). It is beneficial for the demonstrators understand the causes of the inequality and the realistic remedies to the problem.
Income inequality is caused by many complex factors which tend to cause a concentration of most of the income earned to a few people (the 1%), while the majority (99%) earn little money and hence the increased gap between the rich and the poor. The causes of income inequality include factors such as difference in talent, education, skills, and nature of work (Wehner and Beschel 101). Technology contributes to income inequality through the replacement of human labor, as businesses seek for cheaper and efficient mechanized labor. Another factor is the increased interconnection to the outside world, which has made it easier to outsource services as well as source for cheaper labor from neighbors and other parts of the world (Wehner and Beschel 101).The educational gap between the rich and the poor is another cause of income inequality. As the income gap between the rich and the poor widens, so does the educational/achievement gap between their children and this makes it difficult for the future generation to narrow the gap (Wehner and Beschel 102). The Pew Research Center made a study and found out that the households of the older population of 65 yrs and older have a 47 times higher net worth compared to the households of the younger population of 35 yrs and below (Wehner and Beschel 106). This age-wealth gap has been widening and the main cause is increasing home equity. Wehner and Beschel add that low-income earners contribute to Social Security and Medicare through taxes (107). The low-income contributions pay benefits to an older population who are wealthier than they are further widening the gap of income inequality (107).
There are realistic ways to tackle the income inequality problem through the increase of available opportunities, education, policies, and increasing social mobility. Increase of social mobility is definite through the equipment of the poor with knowledge and skills that would help them succeed in a free and modern society (Wehner and Beschel 113). The government should make reforms on tax laws and policies that make work less rewarding for low-income workers. The educational system should be inclusive of tools that can assist the poor to rise. Reforms are also required on the immigration policy such that the low-income workers get protection from cheap labor imports. Lastly, America should work towards strengthening marriage commitment and responsible child rearing among the poor and working class (Wehner and Beschel 114).
theGuardian. Occupy protestors say it is 99% v 1%. Are they right?. The Guardian.Web
Wehner, Peter and Beschel, Robert p. How to Think about Inequality. National Affiars.(2012). Print