Friday, December 18, 2015

Changing my views some on income inequalty

When American “income inequality” (II) became a big media issue, I figured it was just another political stunt  and that economic equality was both undesirable and unachievable, and would only result in more power being granted to the feds.  I figures what problems there were would be fixed with the developing economic revival.  However, I try to educate myself and change views when it seems justified.

I began to do some research, looking at the studies and today conclude that II is a real problem that is getting worse and is not being alleviated by economic recovery.  I still do not favor economic equality and don’t have any easy solutions, but it is a real problem.  For instance, rent for middle-class and poor families is rapidly consuming greater portions of their income.  There are many facets to this.  I will mention only one.

According to the NYT and others:

“The class differences in child rearing are growing, researchers say — a symptom of widening inequality with far-reaching consequences. Different upbringings set children on different paths and can deepen socioeconomic divisions, especially because education is strongly linked to earnings. Children grow up learning the skills to succeed in their socioeconomic stratum, but not necessarily others.
“Early childhood experiences can be very consequential for children’s long-term social, emotional and cognitive development,” said Sean F. Reardon, professor of poverty and inequality in education at Stanford University. “And because those influence educational success and later earnings, early childhood experiences cast a lifelong shadow.”
The cycle continues: Poorer parents have less time and fewer resources to invest in their children, which can leave children less prepared for school and work, which leads to lower earnings.”

Some people are poor because of personal failing, imprisonment, drugs, etc.  Others are poor for no fault of their own.  This is especially the case for children.
My concerns-
Economic success is a joint project between personal qualities, background and connections, luck, opportunity and ability to function within an economic system that is stacked in favor of big corporations and the wealthy.  There are rags-to-riches realities, but the system is still stacked.Every economic system is stacked in one way or another. Public education is a joke in many areas, public services like help for abused, disturbed and retarded children is shameful many places (see post below).  Many prisons, jails and mental hospitals are disgraces   
But the stack can be rearranged.  There is no such thing as a natural government-regulated economy.  It's all relative to whose ox is being fed.  Setting up anarcho-capitalism, anarchy, or trying to set up a free market economy in today's world is a plan that will only result in the rich and powerful exploiting everyone else.  Socialism is not the answer, but major reform in the status quo needs to be seriously considered.  What reform?  I don't have answers yet.
Much of II intersects with race in American. A starkly economically and otherwise divided society is a breeding ground for harm to democracy if not the threat of violent rebellion.  Many middle-class millenials and families are losing faith also.  When large numbers of people think the government is working against them, the system loses legitimacy, and this is a serious matter for a democracy.  Do you want to live in a badly racially and economically divided society where many do not support democratic government which always seems to give them the short end of the stick?

Secondly, many children need and deserve help.  I believe assisting our less fortunate members is a legitimate and worthwhile endeavor, as long as it does not become counterproductive and vest too much power in government.  I don’t yet understand all the complexities or have solutions, but I’m no longer pooh-pooing the issue.  I’d be interested in what others think.


  1. The various policies and actions of the Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank have allowed the leverage of investments by the very wealthy individuals and the upper-level personnel of the giant investment banks to make incredible profits during these last six years.

    We thus have the top 1% and far above even them, the top 0.1%%. The greatest disparity of wealth in the history of the world.

    And it all stems from the shenanigans enabled by the degradation of our political system.