| Wealth and Power in the United States Essay
Key areas that need to be closely monitored so as to ensure that the economy is balanced include allocation of resources, distribution of goods and services and stabilization. Wealth and power distribution form the basis for evaluation of fairness and equality in society. However, when talking about fairness, we need to consider distribution of power and wealth in any given society. This paper considers the distribution of wealth and power in the United States and how these variables determine who rule the country. It also explores the initiatives and polices that are aimed at enhancing wealth redistribution and elimination of inequality between the rich and poor, the rulers and the ruled.
Factions of the American Society. The American society constitutes the poor, the rich, the political rulers and the ruled. However, it is imperative to point out that the determinant of this social stratification pattern is nothing else but the way in which wealth and power are distributed in this particular society. As a result, there have been initiatives to help narrow this gap through wealth distribution through various strategies. These approaches can either be accepted or rejected, depending on the perceived implications of their introduction and execution.
Wealth Distribution. Wealth can be defined as the value of every marketable assets owned by a person, a family, a community, company or country. Wealth may not be a determinant of income, but to some extent, it is true that the higher the wealth, the higher the income (Domhoff 2012). In the United States, wealth distribution takes the form of a pyramid. 1% upper class takes the largest share of the wealth. For example, by 2007, 20% of the American population owned up to 85% of the private wealth (Domhoff 2012). In terms of financial wealth, 20% of the people possessed 93%, thus forcing remaining 80% of the lower class to share only 7%. Such inequality has been on the rise lately. Inequality in wealth distribution necessitates the seeking of consensus among the people, so as to centrally implement the state agreed upon by the society.
The distribution of wealth in terms of the home ownership depicts that, the Whites have a higher slice compared to the Blacks and the Hispanics (Domhoff 2012). However, due to the losses in housing wealth, there is a further increase in the gap between the poor and the rich. According to the poor majority, there is a need for redistribution of income and wealth in the society. The rich and economically endowed sections of the society, however, dispute this approach, especially considering as an indirect way of making the upper class to pay taxes twice. Poor and marginalized people who are more likely to be the beneficiaries of wealth redistribution are thus more likely to accept approach. However it contributes to enhancement of accessibility to the basic services, which would otherwise have remained the preserve of the rich minority.
Inheritance and Estate Taxes. Estate taxes and the inheritance taxes are among the sources of government revenue in the world. Research in the United States indicates that it is the wealthy minority who benefit from the inheritance and estate dues. The rich opposed the law established to obtain revenue from inheritance and estate taxes. Domhoff (2012) also reveals the possibility of the government losing approximatey $253 billion of revenue between 2012 and 2022. The elimination of the taxes would only benefit 0.6% of the Americans. The poor strongly support the idea that the U.S government should review some of the legislations that offers loopholes to the conservatives and the rich to evade payment of such taxes and benefit both their families and the generations to follow.
Relationship between Wealth and Power. According to (Domhoff 2012), power is the ability or capacity to realize the goals or wishes. It may also be defined as the act of affecting another in a manner contrary to their interests. The fact that one has wealth is enough a resource to maneuver in virtually all the fields of his or her interests such as politics. In terms of the ownership of stock, wealth has an influence even in the corporations (Domhoff 2012). The more of the stock is owned by an individual the more influential he or she is in a company or even a corporation. Often, the upper class in the society commands largest portions of the corporations.
However, it is also possible for power to lead to wealth. This is clear when some government officials are evaluated on the basis of their wealth acquisition. In most cases, people holding those offices tend to use orthodox means to insure their lives, so as to gain benefits after they have retired or left such positions. The idea of power and wealth being related may not be regarded the whole truth of the matter. Pluralists argue that some of the distributions of income may be unintended outcomes; hence, they do not reflect power (Domhoff 2012). However, a closer look at the United States gives a clear reflection of a power pyramid. This is supported by the fact that 10% of the population own 85% to 95% of stock. This leaves the bottom 90% in difficulty of exercising power. The poor would, therefore, agree with the fact that power and wealth are two distinct variables which are closely intertwined. However, the rich, the rulers and those in privileged positions hotly contest this perspective.
Income and Power. There has been income inequality in the United States. Income seems to increase more and more to the richest of the rich. This indicates how the rich tend to serve their own interest while in positions of power. According to the poor, it is how much income one has that determines their power. Therefore, they advocate the redistribution of income in the society. It is at this point that we pause and question the right means of redistribution. Domhoff (2012) cited that that taxes levied on high income progressively declined during the reign of President Clinton and Bush. This led to the payments of less than the expected tax especially, when the top 1% of the population is considered. Analysis of the effect of tax on the income and power reveals that tax is not as progressive and decreases as one climbs higher the income ladder. The laxity by the rich approve more taxation on their income illustrates their fear of being vulnerable to the transformation efforts of the poor.
In conclusion, there are views that power and wealth are not distributed equally in the American society. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few rich people at the expense of the majority poor. The poor feel the need for redistribution of wealth, so as to attain equality in the society. It becomes apparent that one cannot talk of equality if wealth and power are not redistributed. A larger group feels that the best way to reduce income is through transfer programs. The use of tax system fails to effectively cover loopholes used by the rich to evade payment of taxes. To a larger extent, the current distribution of wealth, income and power is not any good enough for the future socio-economic wellbeing. The current situation should be changed because the society risks increases in social ills, as the large army of the poor may finally rise against the upper class to restore communism.
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