A plethora of research studies exist on the topic of wealth inequality in America. There is no question that the top one percent of earners consume a large portion of wealth in this country while the other 90 percent of earners share the left-overs. Some of the related questions that I found during the course of my research are 1) Why are wealth and income distributions so vastly disproportionate? 2) Can America bridge the wealth gap? 3) If so, how? 4) Has the wealth gap increased over time? 5) Are there public policies that influence wealth inequality? And, 6) Is America’s middle-class growing poor? Those are just a few of the many questions that circulate the discussion on wealth inequality in America. However, the two main questions that this research paper will focus on are 1) Is wealth inequality good or bad for America? And, 2) does it need to be fixed, or not? America’s wealth inequality negatively impacts the nation and needs to be repaired because as the gap in wealth increases, it signifies that there is a lack of equal opportunity, and it is decreasing the middle class while increasing poverty levels.
WEALTH AND INCOME DEFINED
Before moving forward, it should be noted that wealth and income are sometimes mistaken to mean the same thing, but they have distinctions that should be clarified. Wealth is defined as the sum total of assets minus liabilities as explained by Inequality.org’s article on wealth inequality. The article went on to explain that, “Assets can include everything from an owned personal residence and cash in savings accounts to investments in stocks and bonds, real estate, and retirement accounts. Liabilities cover what a household owes: a car loan, credit card balance, student lo...
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...d fair, and there are some underlying causes that created and perpetuate wealth inequality in the United States, so I considered the lack of equal opportunity in the areas of housing and employment. While equal opportunity for the entire nation regardless of race would be nice, it is just not the case. Racial discrimination has dated far back into American history and is undeniably still present today. There are several reliable studies that examined race as a factor in wealth inequality in this country, and some of the findings of those reports have been included and explored for this research project.
The Lack of Equal Opportunity: Housing. Owning a home is an example of an asset that contributes to wealth and is to be considered, based on common knowledge, as part of the American dream, but homeownership and employment and opportunities have not been equally
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