The current state of financial inequality in America is showing multiple economic and social problems that harm the American dream and legacy. It is found that increasing inequality causes slower GDP growth, underinvestment in human capital, and disproportionate shifting of political power to the rich. Researches show that Average Americans do not realize how severe inequality has gotten over the past few decades, but one thing is clear: What they thought as ideal distribution of wealth is nowhere close to the reality. In this thesis, I examine the current state of inequality and how it has changed since the 1980s. Then, I present reasons why inequality has been on an increasing trend and identify what economic policies lead to rising inequality. With analysis of Reaganomics (trickle-down economics), I make an argument that reducing taxes on the rich might provide a short-term boost in the national economy, but such policy soon encounters side effects and is unsustainable. Fighting inequality is an imperative step to boost the American middle class and maintain sustainable and stable economic growth. In order to relieve inequality down closer to what Americans picked as the appropriate level, I present two recommendations that can be effective in fighting inequality. One is to reform the tax policies to make it more progressive especially towards the top 5% and shift the tax burden from the bottom to the top, while implementing stricter regulations regarding tax evasion. Next is to provide disadvantaged students with better access to higher education by subsidizing public universities more and lowering FAFSA rate. Realizing one's earning potential starts with education, and higher education today is more important than any other time in the past. Once these solutions prove effective and inequality is relieved, America will be able to regain her reputation as land of opportunity and enjoy faster economic growth.
- Throttling into Darkness - Financial Inequality in America
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