The Permanent Underclass in the U.S.

by Bryan Costa

Poverty is neglected by many people of the upper and middle class in our society. Homelessness, greed, and the disproportionate distribution of wealth in the U.S. have been normalized. People will say things like, “work harder, stop being lazy, anyone can do it” to those in need of housing or money, but the reality is that we are all humans and those aren’t things anybody would be saying if they were in that position. There are many people suffering from poverty due to reasons they can’t control. Homelessness and even poverty don’t need to be an integrated part of our society. The existence of the permanent underclass is simply incorrect.

The most obvious issue with the world’s distribution of wealth can be understood by the statistic that the world’s richest one percent (people with over $1 million) own more than 43.4 percent of the world’s wealth according to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report, and in the U.S. the top 10 percent own almost 70% of the country’s total wealth while the bottom 50% of people hold 2% according to Opposers would justify these statistics by saying that the richest people earned their wealth through the equal opportunity that is provided to everybody in the U.S. There is not an equal opportunity provided to everybody because the poor get poor and the rich get rich. 

The Government can start making changes to tax rates to fix these issues. Many believe that the richest people pay the highest tax rates and the poorest pay the lowest, which is true, when only the income tax is accounted for. Critics also suspect that the middle class and the poor are getting away with not paying their fair share. The 400 richest Americans (billionaires) pay about half of the income tax that is paid by the richest Americans behind them. About as much as the middle class in the U.S. While the rich pay higher property and estate taxes, they pay a much lower percent of their income in payroll taxes because the money they make beyond $130,000 a year is not subject to social security. A consumption tax is the tax that comes with buying any average, everyday goods. Since everybody pays the same amount of consumption taxes but not everybody makes the same amount, that means that the rich pay a significantly lower portion of their income to consumption taxes compared to the poor. When all these taxes are added together it was found that the poorest 10 percent pays a higher portion of their income towards taxes than the richest 10 percent according to a video called, “Who pays the lowest taxes in the US?” by Vox, posted on December 20, 2019. The video also states that the people in between pay around the same amount of their income in taxes, making the richest people the ones not paying their fair share.

This information proves the existence and significance of the permanent underclass as well as the issues causing it. There is not much that can be done to fix it in this kind of capitalistic government. The government should focus more attention on regulating consumption taxes and payroll taxes to create a real system of progressive taxation. Fixing the distribution of wealth is a difficult feat when there is no maximum amount of money one person can have which is why regulating the maximum amount of real estate a person can own may be more effective. However there is only so much the government can do to prevent this without becoming a communist government. The real change would come through the decisions of the upper and middle classes. In conclusion the permanent underclass and the unjust distribution of wealth in the U.S. is a natural flaw of the capitalistic system that can be solved through the assistance of the government and the people in power, if there was not so much greed in this society.;_ylu=c2VjA2ZwLWF0dHJpYgRzbGsDcnVybA–/RV=2/RE=1635245745/RO=11/

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