Thursday, February 15, 2018

Why Is It So Hard For Democracy To Stop The Inequality Train In The US?

The growth of wealth in the US since 1980 is directly related to one's starting position in 1980.  The lion's share has gone to the top 0.01 and those at the bottom the distribution have seen a decline in their share of wealth since 1980.  This article describes many of the attempts to explain rising inequality in the US.  It also attempts to explain why this has happened in a democracy.  One would think that a democracy would respond differently to rising inequality if the system was responsive to the needs of the majority.  All of the explanations offered are reasonable.  There is no single reason for rising inequality.  The Republican Party has encouraged the growth in inequality because that is what it has stood for many decades.  The Democratic Party used to play a stronger role in protecting the interests of working class Americans than it does today.  The Republican Party has been successful to dividing the working class based on racism.  Moreover, the Democratic Party's coalition has changed over time and it must compete with Republicans for campaign contributions from businesses and wealthy families.  We have a good understanding of the problems that contribute to rising inequality but there is no simple political response to the problem because the political system has been altered over time in ways that encourage rising inequality.

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