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back to the future essay

back to the future essayBack to the future essay -Bush’s tax cuts of 20, the taxes on top incomes were slashed, and tax loopholes favoring the wealthy were widened.The financial sector has added to the burdens of the middle class and the poor through excesses that were the proximate cause of an economic crisis in 2008, similar to the crisis of 1929.As the returns to capital continue to outpace the returns to labor, this allocation of ownership further aggravates inequality.Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence." Synopsis Source: Overall Story Throughline: Physics Overall Story Concern: Obtaining Overall Story Issue: Self-Interest vs.Building a Movement It’s doubtful that these and other measures designed to reverse widening inequality will be enacted anytime soon.It is at what point do these inequalities become so great as to pose a serious threat to our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.As French economist Thomas Piketty shows beyond doubt in his “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” we are heading back to levels of inequality not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.As former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is famously alleged to have said in the early years of the last century, an era when robber barons dumped sacks of money on legislators’ desks, “We may have a democracy, or we may have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”As income and wealth flow upward, political power follows.No American who works full time should be in poverty.2) Unionize low-wage workers.That’s simply because the ladder is far longer now.That’s why we need a movement for shared prosperity—a movement on a scale similar to the Progressive movement at the turn of the last century, which fueled the first progressive income tax and antitrust laws; the suffrage movement, which won women the vote; the labor movement, which helped animate the New Deal and fueled the great prosperity of the first three decades after World War II; the civil rights movement, which achieved the landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts; and the environmental movement, which spawned the National Environmental Policy Act and other critical legislation. We will reverse the trend toward widening inequality eventually. But we must organize and mobilize in order that it be done.We cannot have a growing economy without a growing and buoyant middle class.Here are ten initiatives that could reverse the trends described above:1) Make work pay.Money flowing to political campaigns, lobbyists, think tanks, “expert” witnesses and media campaigns buys disproportionate influence.We should also eliminate the “stepped-up basis” rule that lets heirs avoid capital gains taxes on the appreciation of assets that occurred before the death of their benefactors.8) Constrain Wall Street.The most direct way to reduce the dominance of inherited wealth is to raise the estate tax by triggering it at $1 million of wealth per person rather than its current $5.34 million (and thereafter peg those levels to inflation).Even though capital requirements have been tightened and oversight strengthened, the biggest banks are still too big to fail, jail or curtail—and therefore capable of generating another crisis.The anemic recovery we are now experiencing is directly related to the decline in median household incomes after 2009, coupled with the inability or unwillingness of consumers to take on additional debt and of banks to finance that debt—wisely, given the damage wrought by the bursting debt bubble.A stressed middle class is also less willing to share the ladder of opportunity with those below it.Morality Overall Story Problem: Avoid Overall Story Solution: Pursuit Overall Story Symptom: Uncontrolled Overall Story Response: Control Overall Story Catalyst: Approach Overall Story Inhibitor: Delay Overall Story Benchmark: Understanding Overall Story Signpost 1: Understanding Overall Story Signpost 2: Doing Overall Story Signpost 3: Obtaining Overall Story Signpost 4: Learning Main Character Throughline: Universe Main Character Concern: Future Main Character Issue: Preconception vs.back to the future essayThe Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision must be reversed—either by the Court itself, or by constitutional amendment.We began disinvesting in education, job training and infrastructure. We made it harder for many Americans to join unions.Other advanced economies have faced the same gale-force winds but have not suffered the same inequalities as we have because they have helped their workforces adapt to the new economic realities—leaving the United States the most unequal of all advanced nations by far.The Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial- and investment-banking functions, should be resurrected in full, and the size of the nation’s biggest banks should be capped.9) Give all Americans a share in future economic gains.We need to reinvigorate unions, beginning with low-wage service occupations that are sheltered from global competition and from labor-replacing technologies.Some of these people can be persuaded that the culprit is big government; others, that the blame falls on the wealthy and big corporations.With all that money, no legislative bulwark can be high enough or strong enough to protect the democratic process.High-quality education should be freely available to all, starting at the age of 3 and extending through four years of university or technical education.4) Invest in infrastructure.What has Happened The data on widening inequality are remarkably and disturbingly clear.This investment should extend from early childhood through world-class primary and secondary schools, affordable public higher education, good technical education and lifelong learning.But after the 1970s, productivity continued to rise at roughly the same pace as before, while wages began to flatten.The result is fierce partisanship, fueled by anti-establishment populism on both the right and the left of the political spectrum.The Congressional Budget Office has found that between 19, the onset of the Great Recession, the gap in income—after federal taxes and transfer payments—more than tripled between the top 1 percent of the population and everyone else.Education should not be thought of as a private investment; it is a public good that helps both individuals and the economy.The fastest-growing categories of work are retail, restaurant (including fast food), hospital (especially orderlies and staff), hotel, childcare and eldercare. A first step toward making work pay is to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, pegging it to inflation; abolish the tipped minimum wage; and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.Last, but certainly not least, we must limit the political influence of the great accumulations of wealth that are threatening our democracy and drowning out the voices of average Americans.Payroll taxes account for 40 percent of government revenues, yet they are not nearly as progressive as income taxes.For this reason, the issue of widening inequality cannot be separated from the problems of poverty and diminishing opportunities for those near the bottom. The connection between widening inequality and the undermining of democracy has long been understood.In fact, Saez has calculated that 95 percent of all economic gains since the recovery began have gone to the top 1 percent.In the United States, consumer spending accounts for approximately 70 percent of economic activity. back to the future essay The share could be cashed in gradually starting at the age of 18.10) Get big money out of politics.Some inequality of income and wealth is inevitable, if not necessary.Closure Influence Character Problem: Avoid Influence Character Solution: Pursuit Influence Character Symptom: Reconsider Influence Character Response: Consider Influence Character Unique Ability: Closure Influence Character Critical Flaw: Commitment Influence Character Benchmark: Memory Influence Character Signpost 1: Subconscious Influence Character Signpost 2: Preconscious Influence Character Signpost 3: Conscious Influence Character Signpost 4: Memory Relationship Story Throughline: Psychology Relationship Story Concern: Becoming Relationship Story Issue: Commitment vs.In addition, when the middle class is in decline and median household incomes are dropping, there are fewer possibilities for upward mobility.The after-tax, after-transfer income of the top 1 percent increased by 275 percent, while it increased less than 40 percent for the middle three quintiles of the population and only 18 percent for the bottom quintile. According to the Census Bureau, median family and median household incomes have been falling, adjusted for inflation; while according to the data gathered by my colleague Emmanuel Saez, the income of the wealthiest 1 percent has soared by 31 percent.SYNOPSIS: "A young man is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling De Lorean invented by his friend, Dr.An April 2013 Pew Research Center report found that from 2009 to 2011, “the mean net worth of households in the upper 7 percent of wealth distribution rose by an estimated 28 percent, while the mean net worth of households in the lower 93 percent dropped by 4 percent.”Why It Threatens Our Society This trend is now threatening the three foundation stones of our society: our economy, our ideal of equal opportunity and our democracy.But even under the unrealistic assumption that its velocity is no different today than it was thirty years ago—that someone born into a poor or lower-middle-class family today can move upward at the same rate as three decades ago—widening inequality still hampers upward mobility.The distance between its bottom and top rungs, and between every rung along the way, is far greater.The rise and fall of the American middle class correlates almost exactly with the rise and fall of private-sector unions, because unions gave the middle class the bargaining power it needed to secure a fair share of the gains from economic growth.Lower-wage Americans deserve more bargaining power.3) Invest in education.High inequality correlates with low upward mobility.Containers, satellite communication technologies, and cargo ships and planes radically reduced the cost of producing goods anywhere around the globe, thereby eliminating many manufacturing jobs or putting downward pressure on other wages.If an economy is to function well, people need incentives to work hard and innovate.But in order to reform the system, we need a political movement for shared prosperity.Partisanship—measured by some political scientists as the distance between median Republican and Democratic roll-call votes on key economic issues—almost directly tracks with the level of inequality.Every American should have access to an infrastructure suitable to the richest nation in the world.5) Pay for these investments with higher taxes on the wealthy.If the middle class is forced to borrow in order to maintain its standard of living, that dampening may come suddenly—when debt bubbles burst.Openness Main Character Problem: Hinder Main Character Solution: Help Main Character Symptom: Uncontrolled Main Character Response: Control Main Character Unique Ability: Openness Main Character Critical Flaw: Self-Interest Main Character Benchmark: Past Main Character Signpost 1: Past Main Character Signpost 2: Future Main Character Signpost 3: Present Main Character Signpost 4: Progress Influence Character Throughline: Mind Influence Character Concern: Subconscious Influence Character Issue: Denial vs.Between the end of World War II and 1981 (when the wealthiest were getting paid a far lower share of total national income), the highest marginal federal income tax rate never fell below 70 percent, and the effective rate (including tax deductions and credits) hovered around 50 percent. back to the future essay It reached high levels in the first decades of the twentieth century when inequality soared, and has reached similar levels in recent years.Why It Has Happened Between the end of World War II and the early 1970s, the median wage grew in tandem with productivity.Consider that the two peak years of inequality over the past century—when the top 1 percent garnered more than 23 percent of total income—were 19.Many working Americans—especially those on the lower rungs of the income ladder—are hobbled by an obsolete infrastructure that generates long commutes to work, excessively high home and rental prices, inadequate Internet access, insufficient power and water sources, and unnecessary environmental degradation.But with Ronald Reagan’s tax cut of 1981, followed by George W.Herewith a short summary of what has happened, how it threatens the foundations of our society, why it has happened, and what we must do to reverse it.What We Must Do There is no single solution for reversing widening inequality.In part, this was due to the twin forces of globalization and labor-replacing technologies that began to hit the American workforce like strong winds—accelerating into massive storms in the 1980s and ’90s, and hurricanes since then.As Piketty warns, the United States, like other rich nations, could be moving toward an oligarchy of inherited wealth and away from a meritocracy based on labor income.One way to make the payroll tax more progressive would be to exempt the first $15,000 of wages and make up the difference by removing the cap on the portion of income subject to Social Security payroll taxes.7) Raise the estate tax and eliminate the “stepped-up basis” for determining capital gains at death.We cannot have a growing middle class if almost all of the economic gains go to the top 1 percent..The threat to our democracy also comes from the polarization that accompanies high levels of inequality.The richest 10 percent of Americans own roughly 80 percent of the value of the nation’s capital stock; the richest 1 percent own about 35 percent.The pertinent question is not whether income and wealth inequality is good or bad.Studies are not conclusive because the speed of upward mobility is difficult to measure.These forces simultaneously undermined organized labor. Unionized companies faced increasing competitive pressures to outsource, automate or move to nonunion states. In fact, they added to the value of complex work done by those who were well educated, well connected and fortunate enough to have chosen the right professions.Ownership should be broadened through a plan that would give every newborn American an “opportunity share” worth, say, $5,000 in a diversified index of stocks and bonds—which, compounded over time, would be worth considerably more.The dysfunctions of our economy and politics are not self-correcting when it comes to inequality. It is incumbent on us to dedicate ourselves to reversing this diabolical trend.Automation, followed by computers, software, robotics, computer-controlled machine tools and widespread digitization, further eroded jobs and wages.We are near or have already reached that tipping point. back to the future essay As the returns to capital continue to outpace the returns to labor, this allocation of ownership further aggravates inequality. back to the future essay

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