Recently we’ve seen articles about the income gap between rich and poor (June 15). Is there a problem with great income inequality? Inequality has been compared across states of the U.S. and among industrialized countries of the world. Larger inequality means bigger problems.

Here are just a few of the problems made worse.

Trust. Our two political parties hate one another, gun ownership is at an all-time high, and concealed carry permits are off the chart.

Health. Obesity, babies dying, decreased life expentancy, overall poor health — The well-off in the U.S. do great and the poor live like in a third-world country.

Education. Want to grow up uneducated? Move to the U.S., earn a small income, and live in a poor part of the city. With a lot less money, you’d be better off in Greece.

Social problems. Teen pregnancy, going to prison, beating on your wife or neighbor. The U.S. is the winner in this losing battle.

The list just goes on ad nauseum.

Democrats locate a problem (health care, food stamps, Social Security, education) and create great expensive programs to “solve the problem.” Republicans say, “Get the money to the right people and capitalism will solve all our problems” and give us unfunded tax cuts creating deficits unequaled in history. But those deeper problems just keep getting worse.

Many researchers now believe that if we address income inequality, many of our problems would decrease. Maybe there’s something to this.

So what do we do? This is a hard problem that’s going to take a lot of public debate. So both parties should just start arguing about it and proposing solutions and the rest of us should get really exercised, throwing out our own ideas. It’s time for a great debate leading to some action.

Tom Berger

Oakland


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