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Letter to the Editor —Dec. 24

Zakaria’s new book

Fareed Zakaria’s new book, “Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World 2020,” is very informative and well written.

Concerning the national income for the U.S., the top 1% of earners of income made in 1970 less than 10%. That number in 2019 passed 20%. The lowest 50% of earners have gone to 15% from 22% in 1970.

When wealth is used to calculate inequality, nearly 70% of our national wealth from bonds and stocks to cars and houses is owned by the top 10%. Just 1.5% is owned by the bottom 50%.

Regarding inequality in the industrialized world, the U.S. ranks first. Now there is the impact of COVID-19.

Various structural changes are relevant (racism, income from wages compared to investments, decline in the premium once commanded by labor the free flow around the earth of capital which rewards enterprises that are most efficient, technology in performance of tasks compared with humans and artificial intelligence).

The rich have also been supported by government policy. In many Western countries, tax codes in various ways favor capital more than labor.

Elections are expensive and political influence can be bought by the rich. In 2001, 2003 and 2017 congress passed tax cuts worth trillions of dollars. The top 10% of the U.S. disproportionately benefited from them.

Policies like the GI Bill for retraining and training workers and the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit are expensive but needed.

Several other topics are examined including quality of government, markets, globalization and realists and idealists.

— Avery Church
Clemmons