The film “Inequality for All” offered a fascinating insight to the income disparities in the United States. I was surprised to learn that the United States has the most unequal distribution of wealth and income in any nation. The top 400 earning individuals in the United States earn more than half of the remaining population, which seems very extreme to me. Prior to the film, I had assumed that wealth distribution in the United States was more equal. I found Mr. Reich’s explanation of the economy very helpful. He stated that in 1928 and 2007, the market reached its height based on housing and gold, which is dangerous because they are speculative assets. These assets have no intrinsic value, so once the market tops off, it plummets dramatically. These gains in the market were accompanied by stagnation in the middle class. The middle class suffers the most, because they have to work increasingly harder, for little to no gains. The inequality gap has widened, because wages have not increase since 1970. Company CEO’s take in more profit, rather than paying their workers fair wages. This has led to societal problems, such as a lack of upward mobility in American society. Various studies have found that “[R]elative to many other advanced countries, the United States remains a highly stratified society, and most poor kids still have few prospects of making big strides.” In today’s society with so much wealth accumulated with relative few, it is hard to increase wealth and easier to remain at the bottom. American society and economics must realize the importance of the middle class and must invest in their well being to protect our economic structure.
This article further discusses the lack of social mobility and its implications in the United States:
Cassidy , John . “Social Mobility Hasn’t Fallen: What It Means And Doesn’t Mean.” New Yorker.com, 01 23, 2013.