By Rivka Lasson, VP of Economic Inequality and Healthcare
Regardless of one’s political standpoint and their thoughts on the subject, there is a very clear and present scale of economic distribution of wealth in the United States today. To call it inequality is beyond just the simple definition as it has made its way to become a political and sociocultural statement. The state of our country’s economy is one that has torn the country apart, as capitalists and socialists fight over the legitimacy and integrity of the wealth distribution in America. As a free country bound by liberty and equality, such an inequality may seem to be contradictory to the mantra our country holds sacred, but as years progress and the ideals of the country shift to a more open, expansive state of being, we Americans have the responsibility to make sure we are getting the proper social welfare necessary to keep up with the everchanging times.
Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, through which our country has had a call for social welfare unlike anything seen in the last few generations, the country has still managed to somehow maintain very similar wealth gaps and positions that it has had for quite some time. A study by the Pew Research indicates that the same gap of wealth between white and black Americans has actually grown from about $23,800 in 1970 to roughly $33,000 in 2018 (par. 3), something that our country’s expansive mindset is strongly against, with 61% of Americans believing that this inequality is too much (par. 4).
So, what are we doing? Why is there an ever-present call for the tightening and closing of the wealth income gap but instead of closing, it has been expanding? Why is this country – so impassioned by the ideals of equality for all, the rights of all, and the justice for all – still suffering from such a gap? Is it the fault of the left? Not really, because the left-leaning socialists are doing as much as they can to elect officials who will lead the economy into a state where distribution of wealth will be as social welfare dictates it to be. In addition, with the economic distribution closing via a commonwealth, socialists believe that if the government controls the wealth, there will be a better usage of our country’s resources and this will reflect on the sociocultural aspects of daily life. Then, is it the fault of the right? Also, not really, because the idea behind capitalism is that people will work for their money, and in truth, people do rightfully deserve the money for which they work hard. Furthermore, the right is not calling for fewer people to get jobs; in fact, they have embraced it in the past. Where is the middle ground then?
Very similarly reflective of the individuals of our country so torn apart by strong political beliefs, in order to fill the wealth gap, there needs to be a mixture of socialism and capitalism working together in a harmonious blend. The left needs to understand that the more socialism takes over the expectations of the country, the more financially unstable we will become amongst the global economic powers. G-d forbid we take a similar turn for the worst like Venezuela, whose economy turned into a socialist nightmare, where over 270 billion Venezuelan bolívares sum up to a United States dollar (XE Currency Exchange Rates), and the streets are piled with bills. The right, too, needs to be aware that if capitalism floods the country, then the wealth will eventually be crammed into the top 5% of the country, and very possibly more, leaving the welfare of the bottom 95% in a state of poverty. Yes, such cases are extreme, but it is never too late to think about the future, and although we do not see the consequences of our turmoil now, we will one day if our country continues to be immersed in war over its well- being. Coming together – creating a society that takes the positive elements of each perspective and meshes them together – while idealistic, is the only way we won’t have to live in fear of our country’s economic downfall and the gap widening to the point where we end up in a state of chaos and despair.