Income Inequality Is The Great Problem Of Our Time

Income Inequality Is The Great Problem Of Our Time

How do we end income inequality?

The American Dream, the idea that you can move up the social ladder through hard work. Americans like to think that America is the place this can happen the easiest, sadly this isn’t true.

So what’s going on? One place to look is income inequality, a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that “the average income of the top 5 percent of households was 13.3 times the average income of the bottom fifth [quintile] in the late 2000s”. When you also learn that 40% of Americans are unable to pay for an unexpected expense of $400 or more without taking out loans, or selling possessions, according to a Fed study, it is apparent that this is a problem. It is also a problem for our economy at large, another EPI report estimates states that GDP has slowed by 2 - 4 percent in recent years, because of income inequality.

So if Americans are struggling, and our economy is hurting because of income inequality, what is going on, and what do we do?

A report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) says the problem lies in viewing the split between those who went to college, and those who didn’t. CAP says the solution isn’t in giving more people college degrees, but in increasing the demand for workers without 4 year degrees. CAP continues that increases global competition has been a factor. And although “trickle down economics” like those from the Reagan years, and Trump's newest tax cut may not have contributed to Income Inequality (a deeper dive into the Reagan years’ impact on inequality can be found in this Urban Institute article) they did not do anything to help alleviate inequality.

CAP also talks about the important role decreases in Union membership has played in increasing income inequality, along with the fragmentation of the workforce with the “gig economy” saying “freelance workers and independent contractors; part-time workers; and day laborers to supply an increasing share of their workforce … Independent contractors do not receive a host of protections afforded to traditional employees—such as coverage under federal minimum wage, overtime, and collective bargaining requirements—and are far less likely to receive company-provided benefits.”

Also instrumental to fixing income inequality are 5 areas of “investment” CAP names:

  1. Ensuring that all families have access to quality, affordable child care
  2. Building a 21st century infrastructure, including expanding the system and repairing and replacing aging highways, public transportation, passenger rail systems, and water infrastructure
  3. Rebuilding the K-12 schools essential to our children’s future
  4. Preparing homes and communities for the impacts of climate change and saving households money on their energy bills through a new Future-Ready Communities Corps
  5. Providing long-term services and supports so that more older people and people with disabilities can thrive in their communities

Income inequality is multi-faceted problem though. A report from the Brooking’s Institute talks about how certain regions, namely rural areas, are having a harder time bouncing back from the Great Recession. Having fewer options and resources than metropolitan areas is compounded by other “barriers to labor force activity due to opioid use and criminal records.” The extent of this shocking, stating that “the dependence of non-working adult men on painkillers (Krueger, 2017) is strikingly large, with 30-40 percent reporting daily use; and the prevalence of criminal records has grown dramatically as well. While we have long known that ex-offender status among African-American men is a major barrier to their employment, Looney and Turner (2018) find as many as a third of all non-working 30-year old men hold such records.”

The same Brookings report mentions that although there is some evidence that raising minimum wage could limit employment in the long run, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit could be a good incentive to get people working. The majority or their focus though is in making it easier to get a job by helping economically depressed areas, increasing training for workers without a 4 year college degree, and alleviating problems arising from the opioid crisis, and having been convicted of using/possessing drugs.

The Economic Policy Institute looks to a jobs guarantee (similar to what I talked about in a recent article) along with strengthening labor standards (supporting unions and a higher minimum wage) and also regulating banks to prevent another housing crisis, and higher taxes on the 1%.

All and all it’s clear that income inequality is a challenge which will take many different approaches to solve. I think looking into helping out communities which have had a harder time recovering, especially rural communities, with better infrastructure, and resolving the opioid crisis are two areas we can all agree to work on to begin reducing income inequality, especially since improving infrastructure (which will mean more jobs in of itself) and ending the opioid crisis are issues most people support anyway.

Another undeniable takeaway is that the average worker needs to be better supported. Whether it is through our tax code, or in negotiating trade deals one thing all of these reports have in common is the running theme that the American worker is not being helped by their country.

This is a real problem, but it is one with solutions, and as long as America seeks to be the “Land of Opportunity” I believe we can overcome this problem, and make the American Dream a reality.

Cover Image Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

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Stop Yelling At Me For Being Conservative

What you shouldn't say to millennial Republicans.

Society today has a funny way of making Republicans seem like the scum of the Earth. The funniest thing is that it's actually not funny at all — it's an ignorant, rude way to treat people. See, America these days seems to be all about treating everyone fairly. That is, until differing opinions come about. How dare we Republicans view economics and politics differently? How dare we have our own opinions? How dare we identify as Conservative people, even as young adults?

So, without further ado, here are some things that I, a millennial Republican, am beyond tired of hearing.

"You're just a college girl, what do you know about politics?"

Yeah, I'm a basic white girl. I wear Converse to class and my sorority's letters are on my rear windshield. Guess what, though — I do my research. I've been following the presidential campaigns for months now. I've watched the debates, read the articles, visited the websites and studied the polls. I may be in a sorority and I may wear Converse, but I know what I'm talking about when it comes to this stuff. So, if you ask for my opinion, be prepared to hear a well-thought-out, educated answer.

"You only believe what your parents raised you to believe."

No, actually. My parents raised me to understand the value of hard work. They made me get a job when I was 16 years old so I could learn how to budget, save and provide for myself. My parents did not teach me to rely on other people to get what I want. My parents did not teach me to accept handouts. Therefore, I believe that success comes from hard work and dedication. I believe that each individual is responsible for his or her own success (along with his or her own property and obligations), hence why I identify as a Conservative.

"You're voting for him?!"

Yeah! I am! Funny, I thought we were all entitled to our own opinion. It turns out this is my opinion, and [insert candidate] has my vote. Cool how that works, huh?

"The GOP candidates this time around are horrible."

It doesn't take an idiot to see that none of the Republican candidates are the ideal presidential candidate. It also doesn't take an idiot to see that the same thing can be said of the Democratic candidates. Here's the reality: There never has been a perfect president, there never has been a perfect presidential candidate, there is no perfect president, there is no perfect presidential candidate, there never will be a perfect president and there never will be a perfect presidential candidate.

"You're so selfish."

Define selfish. I want my money to be my money and I want my rights to be my rights; I was unaware that that labels me as "selfish." I am confident that I can survive without the government's help.

"But don't you care about the old people/the kids/the environment/the homeless people/etc?"

Yes, I do. What I don't like is that my hard-earned money gets taken from me and used for other things. I'm not against helping out, don't get me wrong. I would love to donate to charities to help children and homeless people and the planet, that is if I had enough money to do so. Sadly, that money gets taken from me through taxes (Which could be considered forced donation, if you ask me. How is that fair?).

"But what about the minorities? You're just racist."

No, I'm not racist and yes, I do care about the minorities. I believe diversity is one of America's greatest qualities. What bothers me, though, is that society changes the meaning of "fair" when it comes to minorities. Yeah, it would be fair for us to all be able to pay our own medical bills and whatnot. Do you know what else would be fair? For even the members of minorities to get jobs and earn their way to success just like I'm trying to do. If illegal immigrants want to come to America, then they can go through the citizenship process, get a job and contribute to society. If they want to be treated equally, they need to start viewing themselves and treating themselves as working American citizens who pay the same taxes, get the same jobs and fight the same daily battles that we fight.

"You're hateful and/or heartless."

Nah. What I am is honest, self-sufficient and confident that other people can be honest and self-sufficient.

"You're ignorant."

Again, no, I'm not. As I've said several other times throughout this article, I know what I'm talking about and I can justify what I'm talking about. If anything, you're ignorant for accusing me of such things.

"You're crazy if you'd vote Trump over Sanders or Clinton if he's the chosen GOP candidate."

Please enlighten me on how this makes me "crazy." In this upcoming election, I will be voting for the candidate chosen by my political affiliation. The Republican Party's only strong opposing candidates include a self-proclaimed Socialist and a woman under FBI investigation. What I would consider "crazy" is if I voted for Sanders or Clinton over Donald Trump, just because Trump has offended some people before. (And no, this is not me saying I'm a loud and proud Trump supporter. In fact, Cruz has my vote either until he's elected into office or until Trump is chosen as the GOP candidate.)

Side note: I've heard the people, who hate Trump for being mean, say meaner things than that man ever has. A very wise man (Jesus, in John 8:7) once said, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."

What you should be saying to me is "Thank you," because I'm voting for freedom. I'm voting for civil liberties. I'm voting for constitutional rights. I'm voting for the will to succeed. I'm voting for the reward for hard work. I'm voting for the things that will actually help America keep prospering.

So, here's what I'll say to you: You're welcome.

Cover Image Credit: Kristi Russell

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I Absolutely LOVE The Abortion Bill Oklahoma Has Passed

"Men controlling women"? Get over yourself.


"A pregnant woman seeking to abort her pregnancy shall be required to provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion." The bill does include exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and when the mother's life is in danger or cases where the father of the fetus has died (and of course, there has to be proof of his death).

A woman HAS TO PROVIDE CONSENT OF THE FATHER in order to abort her pregnancy and I absolutely love this. People in my hometown and state-wide are obviously upset about this because a decent number of them are "pro-choice." They're claiming that this is just another way for "men to control women" and God forbid that gets in the way of their feminist, pro-choice agenda (and I'll address this unfathomable bullshit in a minute).

If you didn't notice already, I'm pro-life. I 100% agree with the bill, even the exceptions. I may be a pro-life Republican, but I'm also a decent human being. I'm sure pro-choice Democrats are either laughing or disgusted thus far, but let me tell you something.

There are other answers compared to killing something that you, or any other woman helped to create. One specifically is adoption. Before you make the cliche argument "Why would I place a child in such a terrible system when I could spare them the agony of a potentially terrible life?" (OR ANYTHING ALONG THOSE LINES), let me shed light on this.

Think of all the couples that desperately want children but have zero ability to have their own. Think about the families that would do anything to raise a child. While you, or any woman, is/are pregnant, there are plenty of adoption agencies that you can visit. You can look through hundreds-of-thousands of files, searching for an amazing family that you like. From there, you can sit through interviews and meet these families that are so. eager. to have a baby. If anything, think of how saddened and desperate Chandler and Monica were when they found out they couldn't have a baby. Instead of ripping away and literally killing a couple's chance of having a baby, give them yours.

A 9-10 month commitment isn't that big of a deal when you think in terms of granting happiness to someone for a LIFETIME. And considering that it's a felony homicide in Oklahoma now.

When you get an abortion, outside of the exceptions listed above, you're selfish. You're only thinking about yourself and the fact that you don't want to be a mom (and perhaps not financially stable--but we shall revisit the adoption topic). Well guess what? Someone is. Give them that chance. And if you're thinking I'm a hypocrite and wouldn't follow through with adopting a baby like I'm preaching right now, you're wrong. I would 100% adopt.

As for "men controlling women," get over yourself. Feminists rant about gender equality all the time and guess what? Think of how many women kept their babies even though their boyfriends, baby daddies, and maybe even fiances and husbands didn't want one. This is the same thing, but a gender reverse. I can think of many guys that wanted to be dads, but their girlfriends decided otherwise with no remorse for their feelings. If the father wants to keep the baby and be a dad, he deserves to fight for it.

It takes two to make a baby. The fathers of these unborn rays of sunshine deserve rights and, in Oklahoma, they just got it. You ladies want gender equality? You just got it. Quit the double standards. Quit your bitching.

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