What past or present policies have hindered the ability of people in America to obtain wealth and/or contributed to the increasing wealth gap?

IntroductionFor this discussion, we are going to examine the wealth gap. The debate between the haves and have nots is not new. Recently, there has been a new discourse surrounding capitalism and socialism. Some people believe that since America was built on capitalism, and a free-market society it allows for poor people to achieve the American dream. While others believe that a capitalistic society has permitted America to build wealth on the backs of historically excluded groups, and the system perpetuates wealth inequities. You may have heard this statement before, “a small number of the wealthiest Americans own more wealth than the bottom 90%”. If you follow the stock market, you may remember the Robinhood/GameStop fiasco from January 2021. A small number of investors manipulated the stock market and won huge gains, until trading platforms halted trade. (Thorbecke, 2021) The vast majority of conservatives and liberals agreed that ordinary people were being punished and considered as market manipulators; while the wealthy were able to legally short stock and trade freely.In President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, he mentions lowering the cost of childcare, college, and healthcare among other things; plans to pay for it by raising taxes on corporate America and Americans making over $400K a year. House Democrats also plan to raise taxes on corporations and high-income earners to pay for social programs. (Schroeder, 2021). To be fair, I must mention that the Trump Administration’s 2017 tax bill drastically cut the individual income tax rate for high earners, reduced the tax on large inheritances, reduced the corporate tax rate from 21% to 35%, and created new deductions to benefit wealthy business owners. (Iacurci, 2021) Many conservatives felt that the tax cuts were needed to fuel business growth. So, essentially, President Biden aims to reverse the tax cuts of the Trump Administration. The aforementioned examples demonstrate how the powers of the president and governmental policies directly impact the ability of Americans to gain or obtain wealth.According to the Economic Policy Institute, in America before the pandemic, “140 million were either were poor or one emergency away from being poor, including approximately 60% of Black, non-Hispanic people (26 million); 64% of Hispanic people (38 million); 60% of indigenous people (2.15 million); 40% of Asian people (8 million); and 33% of white people (66 million)”. The middle class is shrinking, and the Federal Reserve estimates that the wealthiest Americans have 16 times more income than the bottom 50% of Americans. In most societies, capitalism and socialism are not binary; they are very much intertwined. They both exist, and they are both needed to create a balanced society. Many of us enjoy the ability to use Uber or Lyft (capitalism) while riding on a highway (socialism). Is it necessary to recalibrate the levels of capitalism and socialism to create a more equitable society? Or, is capitalism vital for America to remain a superpower on the world stage?Here is an interesting quote, ”how can someone be anti-capitalist in politics and yet still participate in capitalism (in order to sustain oneself)” -UnknownDiscussion OverviewYou will need to examine the various aspects of the wealth gap. Select a topic that is directly impacted by the wealth gap. (See below for sample topics) For example, we covered housing inequity in discussion 3. You watched a video on how de jure segregation impacted how historically excluded communities were unable to build equity in their homes and how it negatively impacted their ability to obtain future wealth. Then, you will develop a modified case study to make recommendations and create an implementation strategy to support your findings. I am more interested in your knowledge of the subject matter (you will need to do your own research), how you apply course content to the subject matter, and your ability to synthesize the information while formulating your own well-formed opinion based on facts. (You are building on knowledge from discussion 3 and now discussion 5 that will help prepare you for your public policy proposal in discussion 8.)Assignment1. Watch the videos below; U.S. Senator Rand Paul discusses his book on why socialism is not a viable solution to problems, and author Anand Giridharadas details how the elite fight for equity only to maintain the status quo.Strand Book Store. (2019, October 15). Sen. Rand Paul & Kelley Paul | The Case Against Socialism. YouTube. [Video]. https://youtu.be/OnhI3w9aN80 (Links to an external site.)The New York Public Library. (2018, October 11). Anand Giridharadas with Joy-Ann Reid: Winners Take All | 2018-09-05 | NYPL Author Talks. YouTube. [Video]. https://youtu.be/Fdt5a6CJ3HY (Links to an external site.)2. Draft a modified case study on the wealth gap. (You will see a shortened version of this case study format on exam 2.)For the purposes of this discussion, here is how I am defining a case study.Case Study: An analysis of a real-life situation where existing problems need to be solved. It should apply ideas and knowledge in a way that attempts to explain the behavior of individuals or situations.Your submission must include the components below in essay format:Synopsis: Select a topic related to the wealth gap and give context and/or background on it. Write what you hope to gain or prove from your research. (I challenge you to select a case study topic that is unusual, neglected, or an outlier. However, if you are unsure about this assignment or concerned about time, feel free to select a topic below. Each topic has been well researched and you will be able to locate data points.) 1-2 sentence(s)Discuss the Powers of the President: What past or present policies have hindered the ability of people in America to obtain wealth and/or contributed to the increasing wealth gap? What powers does the U.S president have regarding the wealth gap? What responsibility do presidents have to maintain a functioning economy? How should they balance the well-being of citizens and the desires of corporations? 1-2 sentence(s)Findings: After you have researched your topic, identify at least 3 problems that you found. Are there any underlying problems that have never been addressed? Use data and statistics to support your work. 3-4 sentence(s)Summarize the Major Problems: Identify alternative solutions to solve each of the 3 problems that you described above. Briefly outline each alternative solution and evaluate its advantages and disadvantages. 3-4 sentence(s)Recommend the Best Solution to be Implemented: Select one of the alternative solutions above that should be adopted. How will your solution solve inequities in the wealth gap? Explain and justify your reasoning. Convince the reader as to why your solution should be implemented. 1-2 sentence(s)Implementation: Detail how your selected alternative solution should be implemented. How should it be done, who/whom should do it, when should it be done? Do you have a timeline? Will it take 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years? How much will it cost to implement? 2-3 sentence(s)Summary: What assumptions did you have to make? If you had more time, what would you have liked to research further? Is there a group of people who have been misrepresented in the media or in public opinion? Why have they been misrepresented? Is there a group of people whose voices are missing from the discourse? Why is their voice important? How do we use the current momentum to create lasting change? What should be demanded or asked of elected officials? What accountability standards should be implemented? Is there a political motive for or against your topic? 1-2 sentence(s)Cause and Effect: Write a cause and effect statement on how the wealth gap has impacted society. This should be a persuasive statement. (Ex: Due to de jure segregation practices like redlining, many historically excluded groups have been denied the ability to gain equity in their homes which has exhausterbated the wealth gap.) 1 sentenceCitations: Cite research and data points.(I added the sentence length just in case you wanted a guide.)Topics Related to the Wealth Gap:Universal basic income (UBI)Opportunity gapAchievement gapFree community collegeThe rising cost of college tuitionPovertyCapitalism & the disabled communityWelfareLack of corporate responsibilityCapitalismSocialismHealth disparitiesRacism, classism, or bothHousing inequityEnvironmental injusticeCriminal justice reformLGBTQ+ justiceMinimum wageInequities in educationNo universal early childhood programsInequities in the tax systemImmigration reformDigital harmsQuestions to Think About:Should a plutocracy exist?Is socialism bad for democracy?How would people pay for goods in a socialist society?Is capitalism bad for working-class people?Is racism a by-product of capitalism?Is capitalism dependent on racism and class inequalities?Does it have to be either capitalism or socialism? Is there a balance between the 2 that will create an equitable society?Is “our political economy structured to create poverty and inequality”?Do you believe that universal basic income (UBI) is an effective measure to bridge the wealth gap?Would UBI help create a trickle-up economy vs a trickle-down economy?Data SourcesU.S. CensusFederal ReservePew Research CenterGallupKilroy, J. (n.d.). 100+ of the Best Free Data Sources For Your Next Project. Column Five. https://www.columnfivemedia.com/100-best-free-data-sources-infographic/ (Links to an external site.)Suggested Reading (These articles may help with your individual topic.)Amanpour & Co. (2020, May 21). Questioning the Seat of Power and Money in the United States. PBS. https://www.pbs.org/wnet/amanpour-and-company/video/questioning-the-seat-of-power-and-money-in-the-united-states/ (Links to an external site.)BBC. (2021, January 25). ‘Wealth increase of 10 men during pandemic could buy vaccines for all’. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-55793575 (Links to an external site.)Bhutta, N., Chang, A., Dettling, L. & Hsu, J. (2020, September 28). Disparities in Wealth by Race and Ethnicity in the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/notes/feds-notes/disparities-in-wealth-by-race-and-ethnicity-in-the-2019-survey-of-consumer-finances-20200928.htm (Links to an external site.)Bivens, J, Barber, W. J., Theoharis, L, & Gupta Barnes, S. (2020, October 30). Moral policy = good economics. Economic Policy Institute. https://www.epi.org/blog/moral-policy-good-economics-whats-needed-to-lift-up-140-million-poor-and-low-income-people-further-devastated-by-the-pandemic/ (Links to an external site.)Edwards, L. (2019, October 16). Three Nations That Tried Socialism and Rejected It. The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/progressivism/commentary/three-nations-tried-socialism-and-rejected-it (Links to an external site.)Edwards, L. (2020, May 21). The Case for Capitalism. The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/conservatism/commentary/the-case-capitalism (Links to an external site.)Gornstein, L. (2021, April 1). What is socialism? And what do socialists really want in 2021? CBS News. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/what-is-socialism/ (Links to an external site.)Iacurci, G. (2021, January 27). Trump cut taxes for the rich. Biden wants to raise them. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/27/trump-cut-taxes-for-the-rich-biden-wants-to-raise-them.html (Links to an external site.)MacDowell, M. (2020, September 16). Your View: Why the U.S. is in better shape than you think. The Morning Call. https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mcall.com/opinion/mc-opi-capitalism-successes-macdowell-20200916-pncjn5r45zhsvhsgyfzc7tjszm-story.html%3foutputType=amp (Links to an external site.)Mineo, L. (2021, June 3). Un/Equal. The Harvard Gazette. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/06/racial-wealth-gap-may-be-a-key-to-other-inequities/ (Links to an external site.)Pew Research Center. (2020, January 9). Trends in income and wealth inequality. https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/ (Links to an external site.)Pew Research Center. (2019, June 25). Stark partisan divisions in Americans’ views of ‘socialism,’ ‘capitalism’. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/25/stark-partisan-divisions-in-americans-views-of-socialism-capitalism/ (Links to an external site.)Schrager, A. (2021, September 9). Wage Stagnation and Its Discontents: Rethinking the Safety Net to Encourage a More Dynamic Economy. The Manhattan Institute. https://www.manhattan-institute.org/schrager-wage-stagnation-rethinking-safety-net (Links to an external site.)Schroeder, P. (2021, September 12). House Democrats eye corporate tax rate hike, surtax on wealthy in spending package – sources. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/house-democrats-expected-propose-hike-corporate-tax-rate-surtax-wealthy-report-2021-09-12/ (Links to an external site.)Thorbecke, C. (2021, February 13). GameStop timeline: A closer look at the saga that upended Wall Street. ABC News. https://abcnews.go.com/Business/gamestop-timeline-closer-saga-upended-wall-street/story?id=75617315 (Links to an external site.)VerBruggen, R. (2021, September 2). On the 25th Anniversary of Welfare Reform, a Study Asks How It Worked. Institute for Family Studies. https://ifstudies.org/blog/on-the-25th-anniversary-of-welfare-reform-a-study-asks-how-it-worked (Links to an external site.)VerBruggen, R. (2021, September 7). Study: ‘Tipped’ Minimum Wage Kills Jobs, Too. National Review. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/study-tipped-minimum-wage-kills-jobs-too/amp/?__twitter_impression=true%20biden-s-welfare-state-reality-americans-aren-t-debating