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Economic Inequality In The United States

1350 words - 6 pages

Economic Inequality in the United States
According to the Gross Domestic Product, also known as GDP, United States was measured the “largest” economy in the world (Mahoney 10/27/2015). However, all Americans do not share the high standard of living in the U.S. Levels of income and wealth inequality have always been high in the United States. While it is ideal for a democratic country like the United States to have political equality, the reality shows that this is not the case; as economic inequality ultimately causes political inequality under the current system of government.
Income inequality has not only been prevalent, but has been polarizing further since the 1970s. Currently, ...view middle of the document...

Furthermore, income and wealth inequality grew during the economic booms of the 1980s and 1990s after the World War II. One explanation of such widening disparities is President Reagan’s tax reform law of 1981. Reagan signed into law one of the largest tax reduction laws in the postwar era (Sahadi, 2010). According to Jeanne Sahadi of CNN, this bill caused a slash of the top income tax rate from 70% to 28% (2010). With such great reductions in tax for the wealthy, the wealth were not only able to keep their wealth, but become even more wealthy, contributing to further wealth inequality. As such, the trend toward greater wealth inequality is clear.
While economic and political inequality do not seem to affect one another, when observed more closely, it becomes clear that the two share a causal relationship. First, economic inequality refers to the rates at which the wealthiest percentage of Americans versus the poorest percentage of Americans controls in terms of the GDP. One the other hand, political inequality refers to the deterrence away from the fundamental belief that one’s political influence is no greater or less than another person’s political influence; in other words, every citizen has an equal voice in the policies that become law. Economic inequality causes political inequality because politicians respond to people or groups of people much more with increased monetary contributions. During an election, candidates with the lowest level of funds tend to drop out of the race (Mahoney, 2015 October 27). This is because with insufficient funds, candidates cannot attract the attention of media or air advertisements, hence limiting their exposure to the public, and therefore, cannot win the election. Consequently, in order to get elected and stay in office, politicians pay attention to the wealthiest people and groups who can contribute the most money. One resource in which politicians raise money through are private interest groups; private interest groups are made up of—for example—large businesses such as Google, Microsoft, and Boeing, who share similar interest when it comes to policies that get passed (Mahoney, 2015 October 27). Furthermore, political action committees (PAC) play a similar role in contribution—individuals donate money to their desired PAC, which in turn contribute to the candidates of the group’s choice. While all individuals are able to take part in such donations, with the existence of super PACs, which are able to “accept unlimited amounts in donations from corporations, unions and individuals,” the wealthiest individuals have the greatest voice in regards to which politician receives the funds. Therefore, low-income individuals cannot compete with private business interest groups or have a significant influence in super PACs, rendering their political voice meaningless. The fundamental principle of democracy holds that every individual influence politics equally; however, because of this economic inequality, the...

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