Multimedia The health of people with low incomes historically has been a driver of public health advances in the United States. For example, in New York City, cholera deaths during outbreaks in and concentrated among the poor helped push forward the Metropolitan Health Law, which allowed for regulation of sanitary conditions in the city. The law was an exemplar for other municipalities across the United States, saving countless lives during subsequent cholera epidemics as well as from typhus, dysentery, and smallpox.
However, the share of income taxes paid by each of the first four quintiles fell as a result of the tax cuts, while the share paid by the top quintile rose. Tax cuts under George W.
Bush were widely criticized as being tilted unfairly toward the rich. And certainly, Table Looking at the second and third columns of the table, however, gives a different perspective. The share of income taxes paid by each of the first four quintiles fell as a result of the tax cuts, while the share paid by the top quintile rose.
We saw in Figure Income, and " that those in the top quintile received just over half of total income. On that basis, one might conclude that the Bush tax cuts contributed to equalizing income.
Others are quick to point out that those same tax cuts were accompanied by reductions in expenditures for some social service programs designed to help lower income families.
Still others point out that the tax cuts contributed to an increase in the federal deficit and, therefore, are likely to have distributional effects over many years and across several generations.
Whether these changes increased or decreased fairness in the society is ultimately a normative question. Methodology The method by which the Census Bureau computes income shares has been challenged by some observers.
Robert Rector, of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, notes three flaws in the Census Bureau approach.
First, it ignores taxes. Third, each quintile does not contain the same number of people. Taking the Census Bureau finding that the top quintile receives Rector points out that once one adjusts for taxes, transfers, and the unequal number of people in each quintile, that By this accounting, incomes in the United States are not nearly as unequal as reported by the Census Bureau.
This suggests that more precise measurements may provide more insight into explaining inequality. Key Takeaways The distribution of income can be illustrated with a Lorenz curve.
A more bowed out curves shows a less equal distribution. The Gini coefficient is another method for describing the distribution of income.
The distribution of income has, according to the Census Bureau, become somewhat more unequal in the United States during the past 36 years. The degree of mobility up and down the distribution of income appears to have declined in recent years.
Among the factors explaining increased inequality have been changes in family structure and changes in the demand for labor that have rewarded those with college degrees and have penalized unskilled workers. The accompanying Lorenz curves show the distribution of income in a country before taxes and welfare benefits are taken into account curve A and after taxes and welfare benefits are taken into account curve B.
Do taxes and benefits serve to make the distribution of income in the country more equal or more unequal?
Attitudes and Inequality Figure The result, according to Professors Alesina and Angeletos, is that Americans select a government that is smaller and engages in less redistributive activity than is selected by Europeans.The United States must accept that global wealth redistribution is occurring.
Those in the top fifth of the U.S. income bracket must realize that those in the bottom two-fifths cannot bear the brunt forever. We may not want to believe it, but the United States is now the most unequal of all Western nations. To make matters worse, America has considerably less social mobility than Canada and Europe.
Currently, the richest 1% hold about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States. while the bottom 90% held 73% of all debt.
According to The New York Times, the richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. Dec 08, · The United States has such an unequal distribution of wealth so that it's in the league of corrupt underdeveloped countries, no longer in the league of the developed nations, according to the.
During the Great Depression, the national unemployment rate across the United States peaked at 25%, although the rate in _____ communities was much worse at close to 50%. African-American This folk singer chronicled the plight of the poor during the Great Depression with songs such as Pastures of Plenty and This Land is Your Land.
Americans in the upper fifth of the income distribution earn times as much as those in the lowest fifth — by far the widest such gap among the 10 advanced countries in the Pew Research Center’s global attitudes survey.