Accounting Economic inequality

Economic Inequality for All!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 Kenny Muzzey

If you have followed my previous articles, I have discussed various types of inequalities, modern day sexism, racism, marriage inequality as well as an all-around lack of social niceties. For most people, these are the ideologies that will most likely come to mind when someone mentions equal rights. Well, today I am going to touch on less traditional forms of inequality, forms that are important nonetheless.

Number one, economic inequality, this too has been in the news in recent months and even years. The Occupy Movement spouting a slogan such as “We are the 99%.” For those who are unfamiliar with the Occupy Movement, it is an internationally based effort to counter economic or income based disparities. This group’s goals focus on, but are not limited to various economic issues including a retooling of current economic structure(s), just taxation, and government accountability. Concepts and ideas that, given the current state of economic affairs, are well overdue for reform.

A bit of a personal story, which some of you might relate to.  I work for an intricate part of the workforce in the corporate medical industry; in an appointment based business. In this form of medicine, there is always a slower time of the year, winter. For reasons that are still unknown, this winter was particularly slow. Don’t get me wrong here; I do not pretend to know how a corporation operates so my judgments are based on incomplete information.  Despite the fact that regional managers told the staff countless times the company was thriving, our Midwestern market was doing awful.  The entire market, not just our location. Corporate's solution to this was to cut down on the labor budget…. meaning they cut our hours, almost in half. The position I hold generally makes on average $10-14 an hour depending on your location and education. Going high, $14 an hour, assuming a 40 hour work week (which rarely happens, even when busy), generates an annual income of about $30,000.

Little known fact is that I have a degree in economics with a minor background in accounting and finance. Cutting the hours of many, in the lower income bracket seems illogical; it affects many who earn the least.  Perhaps my opinion is biased, since I am in this lower bracket. Instead of doing a reverse Robin Hood, robbing the poor to give back to the rich, wouldn’t it make more sense to garnish the wages of those who make a more comfortable living? Think about it, if an individual makes a solid $100,000 salary, shaving off a quarter of that still allows them a $75,000 salary, more than enough to live comfortably, and the company has recovered enough income to cover my salary for the next year…. And only one person was “hurt.” Now cut the salaries of 10 or so corporate level functionaries making similar money and there is a savings of $250,000, the lower level employees, the backbone of the company, do not have to endure economic hardships and a smaller sample group of employees are affected. Makes sense right? Nope. That idea was met with laughter, despite its popularity from those whose earnings are being affected. Apparently, the higher paid, higher ranking regional management doesn’t like their wages cut…. Hmmmm ironic?

Don’t get me wrong, I know it could have been worse, I realize many people are worse off than my coworkers and myself. So I, we, are lucky in that sense. It can always be worse but I have found that when you have nothing, you really start to appreciate what you have. They say money does not buy happiness and that is true, but there is no arguing that an appropriate amount of money will make living a hell of a lot more comfortable.

There are numerous benefits to economic equality, for example, if consumers have more disposable income, they will in turn inject more income into the economy, creating more jobs, leading to greater spending and so on. However, economics is tricky business, it cannot be regulated too drastically or economic development will be effected. On the contrary it cannot be completely unregulated either; otherwise the greedy and power hungry will swoop in and also cause economic problems. Who is to say what the best ways to solve economic inequalities are?  If I have learned anything from studying economics it is this, just because it looks good in print does not mean that it will work in the real world. We do not live in a vacuum and there are extenuating circumstances that cannot be taken into full affect and there will be unforeseen circumstances that cannot be predicted.

I advise that we stop seeing things in terms of black problems, white problems, men's problems, women's problems, and we should start seeing things in terms of human problems, because we are all human. The world is bigger than race, religion, sex, gender, and orientation. Things have gotten bad enough, how much worse are we going to let them get before we come together as a species and start to repair the rut that we have dug.

~KM~Halfstack Blogger & Photographer

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