The debate over income inequality is one that has raged for many years and generations. In modern times, that battle has only gotten more ferocious. Those at the top are richer than ever, and those at the bottom only seem to be getting poorer. And while some well-offs may argue that they’ve just worked harder, that’s not really true. In a recent speech about income inequality, the President Obama was right on target:
“A child born in the top 20 percent has about a two-in-three chance of staying at or near the top,” he said. “A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than one-in-20 shot at making it to the top.”
What this shows is a glaring inequality in opportunity. Technology, taxes, minimum wage, weakening unions, more competition, and limited investment in public goods have all played their part in widening the gap. While “U.S. productivity has increased by more than 90 percent [since 1979]… the income of the typical family has increased by less than 8 percent,” Businessweek reports.
“In order to close the gap between the global rich and poor, policymakers need to understand how the rich got that way in the first place,” the article continues. The same is true in the U.S. We know that the rich tend to stay rich and the poor tend to stay poor—and that doesn’t help us solve anything. What will help us is determining how we can increase opportunity for those at the bottom of the income tree—allowing them to also prosper and grow with hard work and dedication.
There will always be the “rich” and the “poor,” but hopefully, someday, there won’t be such a huge gap between the two. If we can begin to solve this issue domestically, then perhaps someday we can take a look at how to really improve the global income gap.