“Live long and prosper,” is a well-known greeting if you are a Trekkie. “Prosper and you will live longer,” for some this would be a better greeting to reflect these times. If you are an upper-middle-class or wealthy American, you realize how much truth is in this greeting. For the well-to-do, wealth and longevity is a part of the benefits package. Over the past few months, there have been studies published on wealth inequalities that perked my interest. Studies from Richard V Reeves, a senior fellow at Brooking and Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Harvard, are the major motivation for this rant. They discussed numerous points on why it is so hard to be successful in this country. There is wealth inequality, and something can be done to right the injustice. For this article, I will take on just three of the many solutions they suggested.
Reeves covered the geographical effects on health and income, and the hoarding of the benefits by the upper middle-class. Chetty had a lot to say about components that will improve your chances to move up the income ladder. He calls it income mobility.
What is the importance of geography on health and income? How long you live and how well you live that life depends on where you live. Where there are adequate health care facilities and professionals, longevity will increase. These follow the money. How much of an increase is a factor of income? More money results in a longer life. Nearly five years of increase life is reflected in the data. Individuals living in low-income areas have problems getting healthy foods and safe places for their children to play. They struggle more with health issues such as; obesity, blood pressure, and diabetes. They will not “Live long and prosper.”
Your zip code may be a reason for your health and income problems. Reeves have also identified another barrier to income equality. He detected that the upper middle-class hoard the opportunities available to move up in life. They limit access to the benefits through the discriminatory use of zoning laws, college entry, internship, and schooling.
Chetty’s study revealed that there are more opportunities for people to get out of poverty if they move to a higher income community. He evaluated the results of the study “Move to Opportunity” for the US Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The study said by moving to a higher income area you can improve your income, education, marriage, and health. Trouble boys seem to fare better in a better neighborhood. None of this was unknown to the mothers and fathers trying to raise a family in a community plagued with drive-bys and junkies. Gentrification shows that some low-income neighborhoods are attractive and desirable. Chetty’s report calls for improvement in low-income areas to help those that do not want to leave their community of long standing.
My reason for this rant is to show that are many things that are used to deny you your share of the American pie. There many things we can do to fight the system. The right action will allow everyone to share the prosperity of this country; no matter who is in the White House. I don’t want tax cuts; I want tax reforms that limits deduct on mortgages to $300k. I want a minimum 25 % tax on all income above $500k. I want forgiveness of student debts beyond the average starting wages at graduation. I want the citizens to do congressional redistricting, not politicians. I want a mandatory single payer health insurance. These are the things I want so that I can “Live long and prosper.”
(The bibliography is included so that you can dig deeper and understand the games politicians play.)
Burtless, G. (2001, November 30). The rising longevity gap between rich and poor Americans | Brookings Institution. Retrieved June 9, 2017, from https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/the-rising-longevity-gap-between-rich-and-poor-americans/
Chetty, Raj, Improving Equality of Opportunity in America: New Evidence and Policy Lessons. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l–6CzrJ4A&list=UUvDvWKy-27H-PxCTYi5cyfA
Growing Disparities in Life Expectancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/110th-congress-2007-2008/reports/04-17-lifeexpectancy_brief.pdf
Reeves, R. V. (2016, May 25). Dream Hoarders | Brookings Institution. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from https://www.brookings.edu/book/dream-hoarders/
The Price of Inequality. (2017, February 28). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Price_of_Inequality&oldid=767854839