America has faced the problem of equal economic opportunity and has yet to be able to solve it. Equal economic opportunities are when people have the opportunity to practice regardless of their origin in areas such as education and employment. America has attempted from numerous points of view to take care of this issue since the end of World War II. While America provided the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, America can still fix income inequality with lowering minimum wage and investing in a high-quality education for children.
America faces unequal economic opportunity, income inequality, in which the government has been attempting to address since the end of World War II. Income inequality is when the income distribution in an economy is unequal. Income inequality affects people’s finances as well with their mental and physical well-being. In recent years, the income gap between races has grown. The average wealth for a white household was $63,200, the average for Black, non-Hispanic is $36,600, and Asian Non-Hispanic with the highest at $80,700. In the website, “Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average more than nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent.”
The gap shows that income inequality is a real problem that needs to be addressed, and there are ways in which the United States has tried to solve equal economic opportunity.
In the past America tried to solve equal economic opportunity with the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, this act being the centerpiece for the War on Poverty. The purpose of the act was to combat poverty by providing funding for Community Action Agencies. With the act, people with disadvantages, for example, the poor, can obtain job training, education, and loans for their business. The Job Corps agency helps young adults receive basic education and training in residential centers, allowing people have been struggling to make ends meet to be able to work. Furthermore, it created community action programs that empower the poor to have their say in political issues.
As more people entered the programs, they added more programs that came with a cost, money spent on people’s taxes. The program was not fully successful because it was intended to eradicate poverty levels, it only lowered it. The article states, “Since its initial rapid decline after 1964 with the launch of major War on Poverty programs, the poverty rate has fluctuated between around 11 and 15 percent.”
If the rate is around 13 percent that means 43 million people that are supposed to not be in poverty are in it. The act did not do what it was fully intended to do, however, there are ways income inequality can be solved. Because income inequality is a problem a way to fix it is to increase the minimum wage. With the wage rising, it will bring millions of people out of poverty. According to research, “Research shows that higher wages for the lowest-paid workers have the potential to help nearly 4.6 million people out of poverty and add approximately $2 billion to the nation’s overall real income.”
A federal increase to $10.10 could bring 4 to 6 million out of poverty. With the increase, people will have more disposable income to be able to buy more goods and services. On the other hand, the increase will force companies to raise their prices, making inflation happen, which will make the wage increase useless. The rise in wages will discourage workers who graduate from college and make barely more than someone who works in a fast food place since the fast food workers will be making almost the same. The website states, “…the company would be forced to close almost half its stores and let go thousands of workers if the federal minimum wage were raised to $15.”
The minimum wage increase will cost more money to employ workers, leading to fewer jobs for companies to offer. The higher costs will cause a trickle effect on the economy and will cause more people to go into poverty. Minimum wage jobs are not meant to sustain a living because they are meant for teenagers. While the increase of the minimum wage may not help there is a more effective way in reducing income inequality. Investing in a higher quality education system and increasing high-quality school access for children will help reduce income inequality. There must be an increase in education programs for children under the age of five because this is the biggest part of education for a child. Many children need proper education, so they do not fall behind for the rest of their school career. According to the website, “Offering universal access to high-quality early education can ensure that all children, regardless of their background, start on a more level playing field…”
Children who have access to better education will start in the same playing field and understand that they need to work hard to get what they want, thus creating a better workforce. With this, children will have greater economic mobility to increase their productivity. It will help to prevent children from having the same number of dropouts in high school in the event they get the proper education. Most of the child’s education they receive determines how well they will do in high school. As the research explains, “Researchers estimate that half of the achievement gap in high school can be attributed to children’s experiences before age 5.”
If the child does not receive the education they need when they are under five, they will be behind all the classmates when they enter high school and will feel pressured to drop out. Children drop out because they felt that their counselor could not help them when they fall behind. As indicated by the site,” Every year, over 1.2 million students drop out of high school in the United States alone.”
This issue should not be excepted and it could all be solved if America adds a better foundation for children. America has tried numerous ways into solving unequal economic opportunity and has not been able to figure it out. They provided the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 however it did not abolish poverty as it was supposed to do, only lower the poverty line. People to this day are still affected by income inequality, with blacks getting affected the most. A way to solve income inequality could be to raise the minimum wage on the other had it will cause an increase in prices. One way that would work is to get a better education system for children under the age of five. Unequal economic opportunity is a problem that America has faced since World War II and still has not been able to figured out how to prevent this from occurring.
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