Income and Wealth Inequality

Income and wealth inequality is among the biggest challenges of our generation, not just in America but across most of the world. It’s causes are complex and solutions must be addressed on many fronts:

  • As the daughter of two Chicago public school teachers, I’ve believed all my life in the “the great equalizer,” as it has been called: quality public education. I regard it as a primary duty of government. Towards that end, I believe in delivering help efficiently to impoverished school districts without the need for a massive bureaucracy at the Federal level. I believe in competition in public education — school choice.
  • Some of the rich indeed escape fair taxation and their loopholes must be closed. That’s one reason why I support a flatter, simpler tax code. The code is riddled with policy oriented tax incentives that becomes loopholes. Reducing or eliminating them will broaden the tax base.
  • But Inequality is primarily a problem of the poor and middle class being too poor. It will not be solved by soaking the rich. It is not a zero sum game or a simple matter of redistribution. Robust economic growth like we’ve traditionally had in America would restore robust competition for those willing to work. That’s the best way to increase wages and the core of what I will work for.
  • Technology, most economists agree, is feeding income inequality because software and machines are replacing people. That’s partly inevitable, but it also results from the extraordinary burdens we have placed on employers. “Employee” has become a dirty word in the business world, giving rise to a long list of financial and regulatory responsibilities that scare employers into choosing technology over people.They include COBRA, paid time off, tax withholding, wrongful termination rules, paid vacation accrual, medical leave, HSAs, ADA, workers’ comp, unemployment insurance, extraordinarily complex wage and hour mandates  (though I support an increase in the minimum wage) and myriad threats of lawsuits. Each has a laudable social goal, and some must be an employer responsibility. But putting the burdens and costs on employers for everything makes no sense. I want government off the back of job-givers.

    And a little update on the point. My opponent, Jan Schakowsky, has kicked off this campaign by lying about my position on these programs, saying I want to get rid of them. I support them. It’s a question of who should bear the cost. For example, paid sick leave has broad benefits for society, and there is no fairness in making employers alone pay for it. If all society benefits than all society should pay for it, perhaps through a tax credit to reimburse employers..