Dear Future President,
Congratulations! As the 45th President of the United States, you have just received the largest privilege and responsibility that our country can grant an individual. As a sixteen-year-old girl living in Los Angeles, the policies that you create and the changes that you implement will have a lasting impact on my future.
I believe that one of the most important issues currently facing our country is the uneven wealth distribution that exists between American citizens. This issue also connects with many other important problems including racial tensions, public safety, the affordability of higher education, and health care reform. I have been lucky enough to experience immense privilege while growing up, because of the ever random “birth lottery”; but many in our country have not been as lucky.
According to a 2015 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the richest 10 percent of American households earns about 28 percent of the overall income pie. White families hold 7 times the wealth of black families. This wealth gap has widened. Two decades ago, white families held 4.6 times more wealth. As the wealthy grow wealthier, the middle class is also shrinking. This leads to a widening gap between the wealthiest and poorest people in America, with misunderstandings between the two.
Lower income families utilize programs such as food stamps or welfare, however, these programs focus on income distribution and do not encourage the building of wealth or socio-economic mobility. This is why encouraging programs like the First Lady’s Reach Higher campaign are so important. Encouraging the next generation of changemakers to get a higher education is the only way to break a family’s cycle of poverty. Although programs like food stamps and welfare should be continued, they should not be the only resource that families have when it comes to thinking about surviving day to day. Your policies as president should reflect the importance of higher education by making it more affordable to lower income youth. By decreasing the expense, you also increase the diversity of backgrounds, races, and opinions at college campuses. By having such diversity, it is more likely that the next generation of kids can look up to role models that look like them, come from situations like theirs, and realize that higher education is an option for them. Your promotion of higher education and reduction of college tuition would have a lasting impact that could break a cycle. It would not only affect my generation but those after me.
Thank you for listening to my opinions. I wish you the best of luck in the next four years.
Los Angeles, CA