There is a “growing unequal” in America, to borrow a phrase from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Americans now have the highest poverty rate since WWII and the highest income inequality rate since the Great Depression. Data compiled recently by the Economic Policy Institute show that in the last 30 years, the top 1 percent doubled their incomes. Everybody else gained hardly anything.
It behooves the US to close its inequality gap because with it comes a host of social-health problems, whether those are high rates of homicide, incarceration, obesity, illness, addiction, teenage pregnancy, illiteracy and low social mobility and life expectancy – which cost in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
Improving this situation requires making it easier for Americans to get ahead, get insured, get educated, and get a job. The current tax code benefits asset owners (e.g. low taxes for capital gains) much more than it benefits wage earners. A more fair and distributive tax system would help balance the inequitable scales.