Giving Compass’ Take:
• YES! Magazine discusses the nature of the tax overhaul and how it continues to exacerbate wealth inequality in the U.S.
• Emphasized in the piece is the power of outside forces, including the labor movement, to shift the balance of power back to the people. How can nonprofits play a role in this struggle?
Taxpayers in the 95th to 99th percentiles of income get the largest share of the benefits, according to the Tax Policy Center. This fact is not lost on the American public, two-thirds of whom believe the tax overhaul will help the wealthy more than the middle class.
The top 1 percent already owns 42 percent of the nation’s wealth. Especially pronounced is the gap between white households, which have a median wealth of $171,000, and Black families, with a median wealth of $17,600.
Societies tend to become more unequal over time, unless there is concerted pushback. Those who accumulate wealth — whether because of good fortune, hard work, talent, or ruthlessness — also accumulate power. And over time, the powerful find ways to shift the economic and political rules in their favor, affording them still more wealth and power. The process feeds on itself, growing like a cancer unless stopped by outside forces.
Religious leaders, traditions, or uprisings sometimes play that role … a strong sense of shared morality helps combat the natural tendency of wealth and power to concentrate in a few hands.
People’s movements have been another way that inequality has been checked. The minimum wage, the 40-hour week, the income tax, and social spending all came about as the result of labor and other popular movements.
Read the full article about tax overhaul and inequality by Sarah van Gelder at YES! Magazine.
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