Dr. King once said “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and that includes economic injustice.
At Sankofa.org, we believe that meaningful reforms like a livable minimum wage, policies that restore the ability of workers to bargain collectively and a tax code that no longer offers obscene benefits to the incalculably rich are a basic start.
In America, the rich are getting richer, while the middle class and poor struggle. The top 20% of the world’s population has more than 80% of the world’s income, while the poorest 20% have less than 1% of the global income.
Why does this matter? Isabel Ortiz, Associate Director of Policy and Practice at UNICEF, said “there is a strong link between high income inequality and social unrest and economic instability.”
The Washington Center for Equitable Growth said in a recent paper that “countries with less disparity and a larger middle class boast stronger and more stable growth.”
But there is also the human factor. Think of the brilliant minds… the politicians, inventors, scientists, community activists, and entrepreneurs lost to poverty. What are we all losing as a species by wasting the talents of so many?
For decades now the United States has been rapidly splitting into two distinct societies: a tiny, vastly wealthy and politically powerful overclass and a large majority who must divide up the increasingly small portion left behind.
How did this happen? Years of wage stagnation, anti-labor policies, financial deregulation and a tax code that funnels wealth upward have brought us to where we are today, a country where an unprecedented number of people are locked out of opportunity.
Want to know more? Click here to see one man’s simple but powerful video on income inequality.