Gian California

Income Inequality

Income Inequality is hurting our country, and our people.

Dear Future President,

Income inequality hasn’t been this bad since the Great Depression, and the worst part is, most Americans don’t even know how bad it has become.The rich not being taxed enough effects how much money you bring home every day! I think the president should start by raising awareness of the problem of income inequality, as well as raise capital gains tax on the rich to 45%.Taxing the rich more on their capital gains would help distribute money, and help us make a dent in income inequality. Income inequality is not a problem that will fix itself and we need to take a step.

The American Dream isn’t to have money necessarily, but it’s to be able to do what you want. If you’re in the top 1% and if you’ve achieved the “American dream” you can do what you want, but if you aren’t in the 1%, how can you achieve that? You can’t build your way up into that, it’s not possible. The top 1% having so much of the money is making it much harder for the other 99% of Americans to follow their dreams, and that includes myself and my generation. According to many statistics, people who make billions of dollars are paying a lower percentage in taxes than teachers, nurses, etc. How is that fair? You may not think income inequality affects you negatively, but unless you’re in the 1% then it does. I’m not saying you can’t be happy if you aren’t in the 1%, because you don’t need to be in the 1%. The 1% having so much of the wealth is preventing the other 99% of people to just have a little more. Taxing the rich higher allows the 99% to have the little bit more of wealth that they need.

According to the website Scientific American, most Americans think that the richest fifth of the U.S. own 59% of the wealth and the bottom 40% own 9%. It’s very different than what they think.The top 20% of American homes own more than 84% of the wealth and the bottom 40% have a small 0.3%. For example, the Walton family, has more of the wealth than 42% of American families combined. This income gap has caused not only a social disconnect that’s based on class, it has affected the way many families think of education. According to US News, now your family's income matters more about where you go to college than your abilities do. Maybe we could lower the cost of college using some of the money we get from taxing the rich.Perhaps a big reason more hasn’t been done on fixing income inequality is that there aren’t enough people aware of how bad it’s gotten. If we raise awareness about income inequality, more people would be more urgent for a change and something would be done faster. In the past, the US has tried to fix this problem by raising capital gains tax. In the 1970’s capital gains taxes were as high as 39.8%. It helped shrink the gap, even if it wasn’t by a lot. Even then, the capital gains tax was still much higher than it is now. Now, capital gains tax is 20% at maximum, which is historically low, and our debt is historically high.

If you want to make a change about income inequality, start by raising capital gains tax to around 45%.It’s more than the 1970’s, however it’s needed. If the rich are paying more, that allows those who make under a fixed amount (that the president can choose) yearly,to not be taxed with income tax or capital gains tax, or to at least have their taxes lowered. The president could decide how to raise awareness, but that would be a huge first step. Once people know more, I hope they feel motivated to do more. I understand some people won’t be open to my suggestions about raising capital gains tax, and to help them adjust the tax could be raised gradually by 7% or so every year. 

New Technology High School

American Studies

New Tech High's Junior class. This is a team taught US History and Literature class.

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