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Wealth gap destroying American economy, society

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Illustration by: Ryan Jeanes | Staff Illustrator

The wealth gap exists. This deficit has persisted since the birth of the nation, and its cyclical nature is its central flaw.

The belief that wealth and poverty are inherited from generation to generation is no myth. It is an unfortunate reality. The issue does not lie in the foretold fate of impoverished children or their inability to succeed. Income inequality delaying the poor provides an advantageous lead to those with the most money.

The reality of income inequality has created a cycle that keeps the rich at the top and the poor at the bottom. The wealth gap is a problem for everyone—except those who are part of the top one percent.

The top one percent in America owns 35 percent of all net worth, while the top ten percent owns 76 percent. This means the 280 million people in the country who do not belong to the top ten percent own less than half of the wealth produced in America.

It is often theorized that power should be held in the small circle of the elite to create a prosperous economy. The trickle-down theory is common but most definitely not as effective as people claim it to be.

This theory says the wealthy must remain wealthy for the economy to blossom because their affluence will eventually trickle down to those at the bottom through jobs and investments. Trickle-down economics does not work, yet there are still many who blindly hold on to this theory.

Most of the money made by the top one percent will hardly ever trickle down to the bottom 40 percent. According to a June study published by the International Monetary Fund, trickle-down economics conclusively does not work. In fact, it leads to a decrease in gross domestic product.

This wealth gap and the way elites help it endure over time is getting in the way of the country’s economic growth and creating social issues in the process. The rich and the poor are living on opposite poles, and both have different realities affecting health and social relations in America.

The life expectancy of the rich is estimated to be longer than that of those living in poverty. Other health patterns like infant mortality and mental illness are issues that affect the wealthy in rare occasions. Meanwhile, the bottom 40 percent live with untreated mental illnesses and the stillness of social mobility.

Our country has become isolated from its own society because of the wealth gap, and it is beginning to affect the health of its citizens. This cannot and will not stand. The wealth gap is threatening the health and stability of the American fabric and it must be put to an end before it creates even bigger threats to our nation.