Income inequality, like racism and Donald Trump, comprise the wad of gum stuck to America’s shoe that we just cannot seem to scrape off. It empowers people like hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli to buy a company that produces AIDS medication for 13 dollars a pill and charge 750 dollars a pill.
It empowers people like the Koch brothers who intend on spending 889 million dollars on the next presidential election. And it allows companies like Walmart, which is valued at roughly half a trillion dollars, to pay their employees so little they hold an annual Thanksgiving food drive for them.
According to a Pew research study, the income gap between the middle and upper class has reached the highest on record; the income of the upper class has hit seven times the average income of the middle class.
This is primarily seen in the United States, where the global definition of poverty is living on two dollars a day. This calamity has become an issue Pope Francis plans to focus on. In his address to Congress, Pope Francis lectured about the dangers of income inequality. “This happens today: if the investments in the banks fall slightly… what can be done? But if people die of hunger, if they have nothing to eat, if they have poor health, it does not matter! This is our crisis today,” Pope Francis said.
When it comes to income inequality nothing is more unsettling than looking at the amount of money some billion dollar companies pay in taxes. This is because many companies, instead of paying taxes, make money in tax rebates from the federal government, and thus pay a negative rate.
For example, CBS received a tax rebate of 235 million dollars. This is absurd; I technically pay more money in taxes than some billion dollar companies. Our unequal and oppressive tax system does not protect the liberty of our citizens and, if anything, it hinders our ability to pursue our dreams.
Of all the 2016 presidential candidates it is Bernie Sanders who has made income inequality his crusade. He is the voice of those who suffer its negative effects, and he has a solution. He wants billionaires and billion dollar companies to pay their fair share.
He does not want companies like Boeing to pay ridiculously low rates, like negative two percent, in taxes and he certainly does not want the federal minimum wage to stay at 7.25 an hour. He believes, “a job should lift workers out of poverty not keep them in it.” And quite frankly he is right; America should not employ people and pay them what Senator Sanders calls a “poverty wage”.
As the greatest country on Earth, we have the responsibility to treat our workforce with respect.