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Increasing economic inequality is a significant issue in America in recent years there has been a marked slowing of growth across the world’s wealthiest economies, with none returning to the growth trends experienced before the crisis. The wealthy economies are fundamentally unable to create enough demand to keep growing. The mainstream political consensus has for decades now suggested that inequality is a price worth paying for economic growth. It states in the article “A rich country with millions of poor people. A country that prides itself on being the land of opportunity, but in which a child’s prospects are more dependent on the income and education of his or her parents than in other advanced countries.” (Stiglitz, 2014, p.89) In a country that believes in fair play, but in which the richest often pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than those less well off. A country in which children every day pledge allegiance to the flag, asserting that there is “justice for all,” but in which, increasingly, there is only justice for those who can afford it.
The articles further states “Too much of the wealth at the top of the ladder arises from exploitation—whether from the exercise of monopoly power, from taking advantage of deficiencies in corporate governance laws to divert substantial amounts of corporate revenues to pay CEOs’ outsized bonuses unrelated to true performance, or from a financial sector devoted to market manipulation, predatory and discriminatory lending, and abusive credit card practices.” (Stiglitz, 2014, p. 89) Meaning that inequality undermines meritocracy, so the most talented don’t rise to the top. Instead, the children of the elite stay in positions of power, and the economy grows less innovative and productive as a result. Inequality may also discourage people from putting in effort to climbing the ladder, undermining work, and effort. If inequality is a problem, how to address it? Many argue for more redistribution from rich to poor.
But how this money is delivered and spent is crucial. Some share of the discontent is not purely economic. In addition, “If we actually made corporations pay what they are supposed to pay and eliminated loopholes we would raise hundreds of billions of dollars. With the right redesign, we could even get more employment and investment in the United States.” (Stiglitz, 2014, p.91) But because, of large companies like Apple and Google who have created products making America the envy of the world they use this to their advantages to avoid paying federal corporate taxes.
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