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Inequality comes in many flavors

To the Editor:

Inequality plays out in all aspects of American life. For the past few weeks we have been consumed by policing, judicial and legal inequality, ignited by the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis, which has played out through massive international demonstrations followed by signs of improvement. Economic inequality today is the source of so many of our societal woes. 

Economists use dozens of metrics to describe the distribution of money in this country. If you divide the GDP by the population things look pretty good, but even the simplest dive beyond that metric show a problematic trend. The actual distribution of economic resources, both income and wealth, has become increasingly skewed over at least the last 40 years. More and more of the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a smaller percentage of the population, especially the infamous 1 percent. 

There are reasons for this increasing economic inequality that seem to stem from the desire of the wealthy to have even a bigger slice of the pie, which if it’s a zero sum game has to come from those below them. The bottom 50 percent has been financially eviscerated. As we have heard from numerous sources this group does not have the cash for a $500 car repair. 

The disparity between the federal minimum wage and a communities’ living wage continues to grow. Within these numbers, the economic status of minorities is especially dire in terms of both income and wealth (accumulated resources). There are real world consequences to this impoverishment. It is responsible for most of our societal insecurities such as food, housing, transportation, education, health care, etc., which charities and local, state and the federal government struggle and fail to manage. It seems obvious that a better way to manage this problem is for our citizens to earn a living wage. 

The typical Republican response is that any solution represents the evil redistribution of wealth or corporate welfare, both of which are anathema to their political beliefs. On the other hand, government’s job is to ensure the welfare of its citizens and this situation certainly compromises the welfare of many of our citizens.  I hope this letter stimulates thoughts about this issue.  A part two of this letter will hopefully be forthcoming soon.

Eric Myers,

Sylva 

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