The United States has a significantly unequal distribution of weallth when held in comparison with other developed countries across the globe. So much so that recent figures state reveal that in the US 75.4% of all wealth is owned by the richest 10% of the population. This means that the US has the most extreme wealth concentration of any of the top 20 developed nations in the world. Instead, these wealth distribution figures place the US in league with underdeveloped nations such as South Africa (74.8%), Indonesia (75%), India (73.8%) and Chile (72.5%). Across the US, the bottom 90% of the population own merely 24.6% of all the privately held wealth. In comparison with the rest of the developed world, the bottom 90% own approximately 40%. This highlights the extraordinary disparity of wealth concentration in the US, most notably since the US is regarded in other areas as a highly developed country.
Legal issues faced by small businesses
In recent years there have been suggested initiatives which would contribute towards redistributing wealth in a fairer way. These measures would include an easing of governmental regulations to better facilitate individuals creating their own businesses. Currently regulatory limitations and control licensing issues make it immensely difficult for individuals to initiate their own businesses without a significant amount of capital. Moreover when initiating their own business, US citizens are often required to expend large amounts on legal advice. This is a stark comparison with other developed countries, for example in the UK, where government schemes and private legal companies, such as Gillhams or Gullands, offer less expensive, and sometimes free, legal advice for start-up businesses. If USA licensing fees and regulations were eased, more individuals could seek alternative entrepreneurial career paths.
Another contentious issue is the university education system. If there was an increased focus on improving vocational and technical courses, as well as a lessening in tuition fees, more students could acquire an education and the vital skills they require to progress significantly throughout their adult life. As matters stand, a large number of potential students are deprived of an education due to their financial situation, irrespective of the immense academic potential which they may possess.
Taxpayers subsidising the rich
A significant issue with this irregular distribution of wealth is the series of measures which corporations implement to enable the rich to continue profiting. For instance, corporations scrutinise current legislation to unearth sources of welfare from which their wealthy employers can profit. A recent investigation by The Boston Globe investigated these measures, and revealed that in early 2013 emergency tax legislation passed by Congress contained forty-three business and energy tax breaks, worth a total of $67 billion. In addition to this broader legislation, there also exist several minor breaks which corporations use to protect and consolidate the authority of the rich, including subsidies for corporate jets as well as tax deductions for second homes. These subsidies even include the rich benefiting from taxpayer-funded farm subsidies, from which fifty billionaires received $11.3 million in the past twenty years!
Growing public awareness
The increasing availability and exposure of this information is attracting further public attention to the irregularities in the distribution of wealth across America. It is hoped that this increased public awareness and more scrutinised media attention to these irregularity will continue to instigate change in the future. Distribution of wealth is a highly contentious issue, one which cannot be solved quickly. However, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, it is only just that all Americans are granted the opportunity to achieve their full potential.