There has been a widening of the rift between the extremely wealthy and the extremely poor. Economic inequality has emerged as one of the primary political challenges of the 21st Century reported economist Peter Morici for Fox Business Network on May 12, 2014. The majority of Americans can not find good paying jobs and they therefore feel powerless to improve their lot in life.
Yet, as the poor are growing painfully poorer those at the very top of business and in a few of the charmed professions have been earning more money than ever before. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders recently asked Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen if the United States is still a capitalist democracy or if instead we are turning into an oligarchic form of society in which incredible economic and political power now is in the hands of the billionaire class.
It appears Sanders has raised an important consideration because for more and more Americans these days the United States appears to have nothing much at all to do with notions of being a capitalist democracy. In fact as Morici points out Washington corruption is driving inequality and ruining family incomes. Although Yellen did not answer the question raised by Sanders she appeared disturbed by his point.
In order to attempt to pacify the hurting masses of Americans Washington politicians now exempt about 50 percent of voters from income taxes, while offering subsidized health care, food stamps and the earned income tax credit for lower income Americans. Although these appear to be good voting schemes frustrations nevertheless continue to build among more and more poor Americans who are simply struggling to survive moment by moment and who are not really enjoying any of their lives at all. A recent Wall Street Journal poll has found most Americans view the economic and political system as being stacked against them.
A French political economist, Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics, also raises the issue of income inequality in this era reports the Lebanon Daily News. His book, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," addresses income inequality in a very analytical way. Piketty points out income inequality is the problem of the moment and there are no signs of a slackening of this painful problem. This is all a really scary situation for tens of millions of Americans and others worldwide who know they deserve better in life than being kept tragically poor in a corrupt system across the United States and worldwide which is proving to be less just by the moment.