Wealth Gap & Poverty

 
 
We can no longer tolerate the growing patches of poverty and injustice in America.
— JFK

All Texans deserve the dignity and opportunity to provide for their families. Despite technological advances, Americans are working harder than ever, yet they are less able to achieve the American Dream than ever before.


Wall Street has grown not to the aid of, but rather the detriment to, Main Street. Wall Street needs to pay their fair share. Markets cannot live in the Wild West -- there need to be sensible rules to govern interactions and prevent crises. The United States exemplifies the abuses of such a system, as the wealthiest 0.1% of our population owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90%. The result is that 45 million Americans (14.5% of the population) lived below the poverty line last year, while CEO compensation continues to grow at a ludicrously disproportionate rate to that of hard-working, tax-paying Americans.


Between the 1940s and 1980, the top tax for the richest of Americans ranged from 70-92% -- with most of the highest rates occurring during (Republican) President Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency. While their “official” tax rate now stands at 39%, their true rate ( i.e. , effective rate) is much lower because of numerous loopholes designed for the Donald Trumps of the world.


Allowing those with so much to pay less than those with so little is not just a moral crime, it is anti-American. Everyone must Pay Their Fair Share, and to do so, we must close the deduction loopholes that the wealthiest 1% use to shelter billions of dollars. Most tax deductions are only used by the wealthiest Americans, as two-thirds of Americans don't itemize their deductions. The government loses over $500 billion per year due to these tax breaks, each of which has developed its own special-interest lobby dedicated to guarding its favorable tax treatment. By cutting out this waste and inefficiency, we can increase revenue while lowering tax rates across the board (except for the capital-gains tax, which must be taxed like any other income instead of giving Wall Streeters yet another unnecessary tax break). Moreover, a simplified tax code makes filing taxes easier and lessens the funding needed by the IRS to police unscrupulous people's creative attempts to abuse the loopholes.


It is time to raise the Minimum Wage to at least $15/hour -- we need a Universal Living Wage. Although opponents of a minimum-wage increase argue that it would raise unemployment rates, recent economic studies have proven that the effect would be negligible. Furthermore, let us not forget that the arguments against raising the minimum wage are the same arguments once used to oppose child-labor laws, the weekend, the 40-hour work week, holidays, and worker-safety laws. Just as these laws enhanced the American way-of-life and economy, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is no different.


Social Security must be protected and expanded. An attack on Social Security is an attack on the health, well-being, and freedom of Americans.


Chris Perri’s progressive, fair, and simple tax policy will increase overall government revenue for healthcare, environmental, and education initiatives, as well as save money by reducing the number of Americans dependent on welfare benefits. 

 

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