Saturday, October 19, 2013

Income Inequality in America

I watch this video and find myself torn.  On one hand, it's terrible that we have a declining middle class in this country.  If the class of people that is comprised of the primary workforce can't see a path toward self enrichment, then we're screwed.  The wealth of the top one percent isn't going to be able to realize their wealth, because it's value is determined by the economic standing of the entire nation.  The economy of the rest of the world will bolster things some, but the crash of the American economy is large enough to put a serious dent in the rest of the world's wealth as well, unless China or India make some radical, immediate changes.

On the other hand, I take exception to the presenter's implication that there's something wrong with the rich being the primary stock holders in our markets.  Yes, the middle class needs to have the resources to invest, but the whole purpose behind stock markets is that people with disposable income have a place to invest their excess capital.  Those with ridiculous amounts of excess capital should be the ones investing in our nation's companies.  If they weren't, we'd have an even larger problem.

The value of our societal structure is that we have the option to choose what happens.  The fact is, we're not choosing what's best for us, just what's easiest, or what feels good (which also points to our national obesity rates, but that's another story).  Where the presenter hits the nail on the head is the concept that we need to be making decisions with actual information rather that perceived (whitewashed) rhetoric that keeps the middle class, and by association anyone making less than a middle-class income, suppressed.

I think an effective tool would be to see a comparison between the curves presented here and the curves of other countries.  If, for instance, we THINK we relate economically to Germany or France, yet we ACTUALLY relate to India or China, then maybe that would be a wake up call.  Waving banners based on what's "fair" speaks to the subjective.  Showing someone reality, and asking them if they like it or not, is the path to successful change.