Income Equality In The United States? Think Again

1224 words - 5 pages

Where do you think the United States ranks against other developed nations when it comes to income inequality? Most people think we are up in the top 5 after all we are the richest nation on the planet right? Now what would you say if I told you that America is dead last; Furthermore, that the top 400 earners in America have more wealth then 150 million of the poorest combined. The United States ranks 64th in the world on income inequality (i.e., 63 nations are more equal than the U.S.)(Rogow 15). Although there are people and organizations that strongly believe the government shouldn’t raise the minimum wage because it will cause a higher unemployment rate, we must raise the minimum wage now to create more jobs, help families across the country that are sinking deeper and deeper into debt, and fix the broken tax code that is taking so much money from the poor and so little from the rich.
It has long been thought by many that wealthy Americans are the job creators. It’s said that the more money they have the more they can spend, and the more businesses they can start up and hire employes. But this is a misconception because it is the middle class that drives the United States economy. The United State’s economy is a consumer economy 70% to be exact(Rogow 16) but how much stuff does a multimillionaire consume? They may buy a few cars and a couple of houses but the vast majority of the time very wealthy people do not buy multiples of the same things that an average person would buy. Instead they save and invest their vast amounts of money often this money leaves the country and ends up in off shore tax havens instead of circulating through the American economy. Nick Hanauer who was one of the first investors in and a multimillionaire says, “Even a person like me who earns a thousand times as much as the typical American, doesn’t buy a thousand pillows a year.” To create more jobs, the middle class needs more disposable income to spend on things like pillows, household items, cars, houses, and all the other things that drive the United States economy.
While the rich are getting ahead, middle class workers are being left behind. If the minimum wage kept up with inflation, it would be $10.74 today. But not just the minimum wage has stagnated, wages in general have not even kept up with inflation for the vast majority of people including the middle class. So in order to keep up with the times middle class families are having to go deeper and deeper into debt, work multiple full-time jobs and cut back on many of the things that make up the american dream like owning a home, or retirement. In 1960, the ratio of debt to household income was even (1:1). By 2008, it was 12:1, and in 1978, the typical male worker earned $48,302; while in 2010, that worker earned a typical $33,751. In the same years, the top 1% earned an average of $393,682 and $1,101,089 respectively[these numbers have been adjusted for inflation](Rogow 15). With these facts...

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