All of a sudden the concern is income inequality. On its face, it might sound like a terrible thing; “Oh no! Some people have a lot more income than others!”
But some people will always make more than others…sometimes a lot more.
I decided to do a little research and think I found a pretty even-handed article here.
What I took away from is that the top 1 or 10% have more money than the same percentile used to.
Middle class earnings have increased at a steady rate.
The income of the poor has not increased over time, and poor people have more trouble escaping that stagnation than perhaps they should.
So the rich are indeed richer, the middle class is no worse off, and while the poor aren’t necessarily poorer, they are not progressing well in comparison to the middle- or upper-class.
How to fix the problem, then? Two possibilities come to mind: increase the social safety nets (unemployment, minimum wage, food assistance, vocational training, subsidized day care) to make it more likely for the poor to improve their lot and move to the middle class. This would require increasing taxes to pay for the programs, and amounts to a circituitous transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. The second option would be a direct transfer of wealth; higher taxes on the rich, transferred to the poor through something like a guaranteed base living expense. Maybe there are more options I haven’t had time to think of.
Either method is dangerous because it can be framed as “class warfare”, and it really actually feels like an old problem re-packaged to push progressive ideas from a different angle. And maybe that’s what needs to happen, I don’t know. I’ve long since stopped being conviced that letting rich people keep their money will magically result in job creation that will lift people out of poverty.
Well, left a lot of open ends there and not trying to start a debate. Just attempting to wrap my head around this. So any insight would be helpful.