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The Issue of Economic Inequality in The USA

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When we take a look into the United States, the first idea about the United States that enters my head is that we are the leading country in all of the world. Right off the bat that can come off as, we are the best country out of all the other countries out there. When you dig deep into what the United States is, it can get a bit confusing. How can a leading country have such great economic inequality and democracy? Taking a look at how the United States has changed over the years economically from the 1970s to 2021 we can see a great gap just between the lower and higher incomes in the United States. Another idea to point out is that when it comes to economic inequality and politics they come hand in hand with one another. Lastly, there are different policies in which the United States can implement into fixing the high economic and political inequality.

Looking into economic inequality, there are a lot of issues that contributed to it happening in the United States. Tax policy between different classes, the changes of labor laws throughout the years, globalization, workforce composition, and automation. When it comes to tax policy we can see that over time the taxation system has been more fond of the rich and is getting away from the middle class. In other words, the taxation system is better for those with wealth than the working class. A good example of this would be the amount the presidents paid in federal taxes. Ronald Reagan paid: $165202, George H.W. Bush $101382, Bill Clinton $101382, George W. Bush $250221, Barack Obama $1792414, and Donald Trump paying only $750. Each of these presidents paid low taxes while making a lot of money. When it comes to tax rates, the lower the tax the higher the inequality is in the United States and the higher the tax the lower the inequality is. 

Another issue that may have changed the inequality in the United States is the changes of labor laws, specifically unions. Unions are what give workers a voice to improve their working conditions and allow them to unionize, engage in collective bargaining, secret ballot elections, and many more. In July 1935 Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which allowed unions to do what unions do. As of right now union membership is declining. In 2014 only 11.1% of workers were union members. Some reasons why this may be happening is composition of the labor force, there is not enough diversity of those in the labor force. To add on, employers also combat unionization. They threaten workers by telling them that they will close or move if the workers choose to unionize. With the change of labor laws, globalization has come to play as well. When it comes to globalization many employers choose to move their manufacturing business abroad, which causes working Americans to lose their jobs. With new technologies such as different modes of transportation of goods, satellite communications, computers, and the internet, globalization has allowed United States manufacturing and business to move all over the world. 

Another issue is, when we take a look at the technologies around us in the United States now, we have accomplished a lot. It does come with a cost, some working Americans do lose jobs due to automation. Some prior knowledge of automation that I have seen comes from big business. For example, at Walt Disney World in Florida, I have been doing a lot of research due to my vacation in the summer. Disney has begun implementing a lot of mobile technologies, if you are to order food from a counter service, you would open up an app and order your food. Just this alone can take away jobs for those working at Disney, since they would not need as many cashiers to take orders. 

Lastly, we can take a look into workforce composition. Women and minorities do deal with a lot of inequality when it comes to the workplace. There are many laws over the years that have helped women and minorities get jobs but just on their gender and race they still struggle with their own inequality. Let us take a look at women, in 2000 60% of women ages 16 and over were in the labor force, while in 2015, 58% of women were working in the labor force. We see a 2% difference, but even with that many women working in the labor force, many women experience inequality with opportunities, status, and pay. When it comes to minorities, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that makes it illegal for employers to disciminate on the basis of race. Discrimination has imporved for many black workers looking for employment but blacks are still twice as likely to be unemployed than white workers.

Overall, the levels of income and wealth inequality has changed drastically over time due to different laws put into place to help the higher income holders than those in the middle and lower classes. Inequality in the United States has been caused by changes in the tax policies, labor laws, globalization, workforce composition, and the introduction of automotion these factors make a big factor into how money is distributed to those in different classes.

Additionally, when it comes in economic inequality and the relationship it has with political inequality they really do come hand in hand. When it comes to political inequality, we can point our fingers at the rich and wealthy. The changes in campaign finance laws, lobbying, and the role of big corporations really give the underprivileged a disadvantage into which candidates they would want into to office. Campaign finance laws have changed, one of the biggest ones that stand out is Citizens United. Citizens United allowed people specifically those with a lot of wealth to spend unlimited money on political candidiates. This itself gives those who are underprivileged to have less of a voice compared to those with money they can fund a candidate as much as they want. Another reason of political ineuqlaity is the action of lobbying. Lobbying is done by individuals or a group of people to help influence decisions done in the government. Lobbying is done for bailouts, subsidies, and taxes. These are resources that are give to big business, bailouts are government funding for a failing business and subsides is another form of government funding for a business. This allows businesses to take advantage of the government and even cause defunding for other public resources for those who are in the lower and middle classes. 

Lastly, corporations play a big role in politics. In 2010 the Supreme Court had decidied to treat coporations as if they are people. By this they were implying that anyone who wealth can flood the political system . This is very similar to Citizen United and it really can shut down the voices of those who are way under the wealthy. Presidents can even take control of certain business as well that can cause working class Americans to lose jobs. An example of this is Ronald Reagan taking control of the air traffic controller employees. These employees went on strike and were in a union but Ronald Reagan had told those on strike that whose who did not report to their jobs were to be terminated. Just this alone took away so many jobs for the working class. When it comes to politics and inequality they really do come hand in hand. The more wealth you have the more of an advantage you have in politics, while if you are in lower and middle classes you are at a disadvantage.

Nevertheless, there are a few ways that the government and fellow Americas can help with the inequality in the United States. One of those being a strict tax reform, if you are wealthy and make a lot of money you should be taxed more than lower classes. With a stricter tax reform many of those who are wealthy and play the system into paying very little tax should be fined. Another way of decreasing inequality is to help with education funding, specifically higher education funding. Many students in the United States are not able to go to college due to the cost of tuition and fees, with government funding education tuition costs would go down and allow more students to get higher work experience. Making higher education a priority in the United States will really help with economic inequality. Another way to help with economic inequality is to have enough upward mobility. This is to gain experience and have employees move up the social economic ladder, as long as they work hard for it, it would allow employees to go into higher income classes. Lastly, increasing minimum wage to where you can work one job and afford rent and bills depending on where you live. Example, the cost of living in California is very expensive, so if we brought up the minimum wage, many people would be able to live comfortably with all their needs met. Inequality not only happens with different social classes but also with gender, sexuality, and race. Making stricter Civil Rights Laws would allow everyone to be paid the same for doing the same job that was intended, which would also increase economic inequality, and the pay gaps between gender, sexuality, and race. Overall, there are many other ways to decrease social inequality in the United States, but these policies can help many working class families.

To conclude, the United States can do a lot better when it comes to economic inequality. Different laws and policies have created such a gap between the different incomes in the United States, but making these laws and policies stricter to allow an even playing field for all would be a start. Not only did we see inequality in economics but we can see it also happening in politics. Being wealthy should not allow you to open the doors into politics. There are changes that can be done to decrease the United States economic inequality and it starts with introducing stricter laws and policies.

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The Issue of Economic Inequality in the USA. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from
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