I am currently inquiring into the phenomenon of income inequality. It’s really quite an interesting topic since it’s in the public conscience, it’s rising and has been rising for decades now, and there isn’t really one consensus on how to solve it. The consequences of it are pretty nasty too: America has a shrinking middle class, the political climate is becoming more radicalized and partisan (see: the election of Donald Trump), and a lot of people are losing hope in American Dream and disbelieving in American exceptionalism. So I’ve been doing some reading.
I recently watched “Inequality for All”, a documentary by Robert Reich, where a few points are driven home about income inequality. The first is that the middle class drives our economy and that a shrinking middle class negatively affects everyone. Another is that real income, the amount of stuff someone can do with their yearly wage, has been decreasing for a long time. And finally, the point I find most concerning has to do with CEOs and the financial sector, where CEOs are being given increasing compensation for work that has not been increasing in productivity and has actually been responsible for many of the economic hardships in America today.
Another film, “Inside Job,” actually focuses on how corruption in the financial sector caused the housing bubble and subsequent crash. These are films that I highly recommend if you wish to learn more about why the economy is so bad for the middle class as well as who’s to blame.
Ultimately, it’s starting to look like class warfare. I’m looking forward to seeing if that’s really the case or if there’s some other reason such as the constant industrialization the world undergoes, but for now, it appears that the people at the top have played our nation like a fiddle.