To the Editor:
A recent Allianz Global Wealth Report published in Fortune magazine listed the U.S. as the richest country in the world, with 41.6 percent of total global personal wealth. We are also the most unequal country in the world. The Gini coefficient measures inequality and ranges from 0, perfect equality, to 100, where one individual or household owns all the wealth. It rates the U.S. as the world’s most unequal nation with a score of 80.56.
Stanford’s Center on Poverty and Inequality documents the price the majority of us pay for inequality, including homelessness, lower value of education, women’s lower earnings and opportunities, racial income disparities, racial unemployability, ghettoization, low-paying jobs, restricted income mobility, limited public employment programs, minority incarceration rates and more.
It is too easy to blame this on Republican-inspired public policy favoring the rich, powerful and privileged. The wealthiest Democrats similarly benefit from biased public policies such as regressive income and inheritance taxes, unrestricted campaign financing and lobbying, voter suppression and lack of public programs.
Inequality will only get worse unless we reverse these regressive policies. The only way to muster the political power to do that is to unite the bottom 90 percent of Republicans and Democrats in supporting more progressive income and inheritance taxes, public campaign financing, strict controls on lobbying, making voting easier for the poor, parenting education, and support for universal public education, health and infrastructure programs.
It’s time we put petty political divisions aside and start talking about where our shared interests lie and the kind of people we need to elect to achieve them.
Donovan C. Wilkin