Can The U.S. Tackle Income Inequality?
Congratulations on "Inequality" (Cover Story, Aug. 15). You highlight an area of economic distress which, for far too long, has been ignored. The Council of Economic Advisors noted earlier this year that worsening inequality poses a "...threat to the social fabric that has long bound Americans together." It will take a staunch commitment by Congress, the Administration, and the American people to adopt policies and programs needed to rectify this gross inequality.
Americans for Democratic Action Inc.
In 1982, having exhausted my unemployment benefits, I and a partner founded a small business. After 12 years of 70-hour weeks, we have at last risen in income level from the bottom 25% to the top 25% of Americans. Having just read your article, I can't tell you how guilty I feel now that I take an unfair share of the national income. Knowing that the only solution to this injustice is income redistribution through the tax code and already facing marginal tax rates above 50%, my wife, despite her MBA, has elected to stay home and care for our daughter--lest she take a job someone else needs more. Knowing that marginal income taxes must rise substantially to achieve a more just society, my business partner and I are reevaluating a risky expansion that could create dozens of new jobs...but of course would only fuel our greed to make more money and would lead to further income inequality.
Stephen F. Schatz
Government programs, such as the free lunch program you highlight, have tried to solve the "inequality" of students in our educational system, and it has not worked. Should not the conclusion then be that attempts to make people equal do not work? Instead, you conclude that we need to be more active in our efforts to make people equal in the hope that the outcome seen in the past will be different in the future. Not a strong possibility.
Joel M. Barry
Agoura Hills, Calif.