From 1938-1969, in America was in a period called the great compression, a time where the difference between the richest and poorest Americans was very small and economic growth was explosive. Due to past and current economic policies and events, income inequality has exploded in America, which is why in 2015 America had the highest level of wealth inequality in the world at 80.56 gini . In the future this inequality will slow down economic growth, increase debt for middle income Americans, make America less democratic, and reduce economic mobility. This problem, however, does have solutions and this paper will lay out some of the solutions and the effect they will have on the economy, but first I will explain the history of income inequality in the US. The presidents during the gilded age embrace laissez-faire economic policies and refusal to regulate the banking sector, allowed for large amounts of investment that led to the stock market increasing in value rapidly and an environment that fostered technological advancements led to an age of economic prosperity, that was especially beneficial for all Americans especially the wealthy. However, the rampant levels of income inequality and relatively slow wage growth at the time made it hard for working and middle class people to buy the amount of new technology at the rate it was being produced, thus leading to insufficient demand for products that were heavily invested in which created a bubble in the stock market.
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The Gilded Age is a time period in American history between 1870-1900. During this time period there was a boom in the United States economy and population. Unfortunately, during this time period there was a lot of financial corruption and inequality which caused the rich to become very wealthy. Interestingly enough there were a variety of distinguished authors, from William Graham Sumner, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Andrew Carnegie, and Henry George knew economic inequality was a major problem and something needed to be done.
In the United States, high standard of living is not equally shared with in the Americans. The 1970s and 1990s was period where economic inequality began to grow. Emmanuel Saez, an economics professor at UC Berkeley has been doing a research for the U.S. income inequality. He states that there has been an increase since the 1970s, and has reached levels that have not been seen since 1928. “In 1928, the top 1% of families received 23.9% of all pretax income, while the bottom 90% received 50.7%. But the Depression and World War II dramatically reshaped the nation’s income distribution, by 1944 the top 1%’s share was down to 11.3%, while the bottom 90% were receiving 67.5%, levels that would remain more or less constant for the next three decades. But starting in the mid- to late 1970s, the uppermost percent income share began rising dramatically, while that of the bottom 90% started to fall.”(DeSilver) Ever since then, economic inequality continues to increase, especially in the last three decades.
In other words, America has a widening gap between its wealthy and poor. As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, there is a problem emerging: the disappearance of the middle class. Low-wage workers continue to fall behind those who make higher wages, and this only widens the gap between the two. There has been an economic boom in the United States, which has made the country more prosperous than it has ever been. That prosperity does not reach all people; it seems to only favor the rich. Rising economic segregation has taken away many opportunities for the poor to rise in America today. The poor may find that the economic boom has increased their income; however, as their income increase so does the prices they must for their living expenses (Dreier, Mollenkopf, & Swanstrom 19).
Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, the federal government was looking for a way to get the people motivated; motivated to work again, motivated to have a better life again, and then like an answered prayer we entered the ‘Gilded Age’. The rapid growth from 1865 to 1900 was brought on by the availability of money and resources. With entrepreneurs willing to take a risk with this money and new resources, extraordinary growth arose. Railroads were evolving everywhere and as a result the Steel industry started to rise. With this economic boom all people, especially the federal government, sought after means to sustain this sudden increase in the market. The United States government came up with a plan to promote industrial development
Income Inequality in America is a problem that’s been going on for decades, and many feel that it hardly exists, the many people that feel that way are highly uneducated, and seem to not really care about this tremendous problem that in one’s eyes really has no end in the near future, in fact it has been gradually rising and one feels that it’s just not fair. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done, only of course if the poor class of people decide to actually educate themselves and get a higher education. One says poor class, simply because that’s how they’re classified. There are five types of levels that Americans are classified as, and they are: 1. Upper Class, 2. Upper Middle Class, 3. Middle Class, 4. Working Class, 5. Poor.
The Gilded Age was characterized by rapid industrialization, reconstruction, ruthless pursuit of profit, government, corruption, and vulgarity (Cashman 1). After the Civil War, America was beginning to regroup as a nation. There were many other changes developing in the country. Industrialization was taking over the formerly agricultural country. The nation’s government was also in great conflict (Foner 20). Many changes occurred during the Gilded Age. These changes affected farmers, labor, business, and politics.
During the first Gilded Age that occurred in the late 1800s, economic growth was at an all-time high. At this time, the wages that were given to American were at an increased rate compared to that of the wages that were given in Europe. Due to this, an abundant amount of European immigrants came over to the United States because of this inflated wage. These economic advances were due to that of several technological advances that had come about in this time. The industrial production skyrocketed, which, in turn, made for increased economic wealth for Americans.
A successful economy is perhaps the most key ingredient leading to a successful nation. An economy is a delicate balance of many different conflicting and coexisting elements. Naturally, an economy’s success can often be measured by the amount of wealth it contains, not to mention the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of its distribution of the wealth. Effective distribution of wealth is no easy feat. Wealthy and poor people will always need to coexist- this is an inescapable truth. The government’s job in many cases becomes that of a referee. Naturally, perfect peace and harmony between two totally different classes would be a utopia, and probably will never be completely achieved. A government must, therefore,
When you are young and even well into your adult years people will tell you there will always be somebody who is smarter, faster, happier, or better at something than you are. This is true for all periods of time but in the Gilded Age those who were better gained more and more crushing the people below them with unprecedented greed, corruption, and power. The few exploited the many by way of opportunity. Something our nation was built on, yet the avaricious elite used it for evil methods.
Wealth inequality in the United States has grown tremendously since 1970. The United States continuously reveals higher rates of inequality as a result of perpetual support for free market capitalism. The high rates of wealth inequality cause the growing financial crisis to persist, lower socio-economic mobility, increase national poverty, and have adverse effects on health and well being.
The Gilded Age was the last three decades of the nineteenth century, when America’s industrial economy exploded generating opportunities for individuals but also left many workers struggling for survival. With the many immigrants, skilled and unskilled, coming to America the labor system is becoming flooded with new employees. During this period, the immigrants, including the Italians, were unskilled and the skilled workers were usually American-born. There was also a divide in the workers and the robber barons. Robber barons were American capitalist who acquired great fortunes in the last nineteenth century, usually ruthlessly. There was much turmoil throughout the business and labor community. Two major organizations, the Knights of
The highest earning fifth of U.S. families earned 59.1% of all income, while the richest earned 88.9% of all wealth. A big gap between the rich and poor is often associated with low social mobility, which contradicts the American ideal of equal opportunity. Levels of income inequality are higher than they have been in almost a century, the top one percent has a share of the national income of over 20 percent (Wilhelm). There are a variety of factors that influence income inequality, a few of which will be discussed in this paper. Rising income inequality is caused by differences in life expectancy, rapidly increases in the incomes of the top 5 percent, social trends, and shifts in the global economy.
Capitalism has been the central force behind the growth of the United States’ progressive economy. Within such advanced economic system the chances of economic disparity are significantly high. In fact, over the past three decades there has being a steady increase in unequal wealth distribution among the economic classes. To sustain the current unequal wealth distribution among the classes of the American population, there are numerous factors that influence and shape this trend. For some members of the population it is alarmingly disturbing to know that recent statistics have shown that, “In the US [alone] the wealthiest 1% of its population owns more than the bottom 95 %” (Gutman). As for the difference in economic wealth, it resulted