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Net worth of American households at 43-year old low
Yes, but we've got 4 more years to get it right...or something.
So who is at fault and what's to be done about income inequality - if anything?
The notion that "a rising tide lifts all boats" is demonstrably false. Middle Class wages have stagnated over the last 30 years while the wealth of the top 10% has nearly doubled, even while the economy has also doubled in size.
Part of this is a function of losing our manufacturing base. Globalization has also played a role. The question shouldn't be whether the government must address income inequality so much as how we must revitalize our industrial sector and create Middle Class jobs again.
All government can do is take from the rich and give to the Middle Class. This presupposes a shrinking or stagnant pie. Grow the pie - but create policies that target the Middle Class. Improve education and training; give tax breaks to home grown manufacturing industries that show innovation and an ability to compete; remove the tangle of unnecessary regulations that stand in the way of business creation and job growth; and assist small business in selling overseas.
We are doing some of this now, but it's not enough and it's a scattershot approach. I have always opposed an "industrial policy" but perhaps, in a world where we must be competitive on a global scale, some kind of concerted effort by government to create the conditions where manufacturing busineses and their workers can thrive is necessary.
CEO's of large corporations will still make tens of millions of dollars a year. But incomes for the Middle Class just might start rising again. That is much preferred to the stagnation we have today.