The Problem: Today's wealthy are richer than in the past and their share of the nation's income has grown. For example, the richest family in the U.S., the Wal-Mart heirs, with a family wealth of $89.5 billion, have as much wealth as the bottom 40% of Americans combined. To address our country's growing inequality, now is the time to question the core national faith; that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead.
In the 1960s, U.S. manufacturing jobs began to be shipped overseas to countries that had cheap labor rates. This continued during the 1970s and 1980s when The 1% club earned about one-tenth of the nation's income. By 2007, it was 23.5%, the second highest in history after 1929. Today, The 1% is categorized as typically earning $300K to $400K annually and/or having a net-worth of $8.4 million to qualify. About half of The 1% qualify in both categories.
Today, only those Americans with valued skills and advanced education's are reaping the rewards of the American Dream. What all Americans really want is more equal opportunity for themselves. One reason behind the surge in wealth at the top is the limited access to education that provides well-paying jobs within the global economy.
The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay. But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility
American upward mobility lags behind Canada's and some European nations'. The decline in U.S. manufacturing plays an obvious role. Men with high school diplomas have lost high paying jobs to factories in China and India and elsewhere. America's educational attainment has slowed, especially compared with competitor nations, at a time when technological advancement complicates labor force needs. The U.S. ranks near the bottom in high school graduation rates among OECD countries and in the middle on college graduation rates. We used to be on top.
The slowdown and reversal [in the U.S.] were so extreme that college graduation rates of young men born in the mid-1970s are no higher than for those born in the late 1940s.
Public Opinion Polls to Increase Taxes on the Rich are Hugely Popular
The past few decades have been good to the top 10% of earners. Many of whom pay low federal and state tax rates; such as presidential candidate Mitt Romney who pays taxes in range of 12%. Many think taxing the well-off (those who make $250K and above a year) would help the economy. Even Warren Buffett suggests that imposing a minimum tax rate of 30% on million-dollar incomes has gained the White House's support.
Increased taxation of the rich, along with reductions in global diplomatic and military spending, could create a funding source for lower cost university and job training education programs. Such educational support programs in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s provided middle and lower class students an opportunity to secure high paying jobs.
2012 Presidential Election is all about saving the American Dream.