Updated: Sep 10
Since March 2020, we’ve ALL have had time to think, talk or twiddle our thumbs about everything from A to Z. This is a time for reflection, relaxation, rest, restoration, revelations, revival, reorganization, and restructuring of our lives and OUR STUFF. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had time, even with COVID-19, to actually get to enjoy all the 8 R’s? For instance, depending on your personality type, sheltering can deplete or energize your mood. I believe COVID-19 has given us a stark look through the window of youth living in poverty, whether brilliant or average, never being able to venture outside their circumstance. I read somewhere that a society is measured by how they bury, celebrate and honor their dead. I used to think this was such a regal quote but with age and reflection, I realize it’s totally bogus…before you go off the deep end! We bury, celebrate and honor our loved ones because we cherish their memories and miss them dearly; but what if we manifested all of this energy and resources plus more into the next generation: the living and our legacy?
Robert Reich, who served in the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter and Clinton, while teaching at UC Berkeley asked these three questions:
1) What is happening in the terms of the distribution of income and wealth?
3) Is it a problem?
He also asks."Look, the question is not the inequality per se. The question is, when does inequality become a problem? How much inequality can we tolerate and still have an economy that's working for everyone and still have a democracy that's functioning?"
In 2018, the U.S. ranked 45th in the world for income inequality; just barely beating third world countries like, Uruguay, Jamaica and Uganda (Income inequality Gini index
Data source: World Bank ) but; this is strange because the U.S. ranks #1 in wealth above all other countries with approximately 42%, with China #2, a distant second at 11%. That is a wide gap to say the least! Where does this leave the next generation(s)? Answer: In a tough spot! In the U.S., 42% of kids born into poverty will not get out compared to Great Britain (30%), a country that still has an aristocracy, has more upward mobility than we do, says Reich.
Between 1947 -1977, America had low income inequality, a high percentage of college graduates, strong labor unions and a booming middle-class. Education is a tool that helps people escape poverty and enter into the middle-class but presently, the cost of education is almost equivalent to buying a first home without financial assistance for the majority. I also thought education was the key to the castle but have found out it merely opens the outer gate; because in order for the middle-class and poor to strive as a whole within the American economy, America must make it possible for everyone to afford a college education.
Income inequality has many roots or causes, depending on who you talk to: the dismantling of unions, technology, lack of higher education, globalization, capitalism and some even say it began with Reagan and his trickle-down economics. There are lots of research and data to back up these claims but I'm mostly concerned about how we, the current generation, can ensure this stops from happening to future generations.
We need to replace trickle-down economics with middle-out economics. And. indeed, every place you look on Earth where you find prosperity, you find massive investments in the middle class and the poor, because at the end of the day, they are the true job creators. The most pro-business thing you can do is to help the middle-class thrive says Nick Hanauer, Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist.
There is a well-known song, “The Greatest Love of All” originally sung by George Benson and made famous in the next generation by Whitney Houston. Beginning lyrics - I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride to make it easier. I distinctly remember hearing this song when I was younger thinking I could accomplish anything and ready to take on the world but after dancing my last move and singing the melodic tune; my circumstances were still the same.
I want to challenge you with something: THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! I considered myself a Type A, black and white, dot all I’s and cross all T’s individual and if it were not a standard fix; I wouldn’t have party to it. Now, as I’ve gotten younger, I’ve come to realize that tough problems require diverse solutions. All people, male/female, married/single, poor/rich, illiterate/professor, blue/white collar, atheist/God-fearing, democratic/socialist and children who are in poverty should have a say on how to fix this and make our country better instead of just saying it's better. Begin having hard conversations (I DID NOT SAY ARGUE OR DEBATE) with people who don’t think like you to gain a different perspective; you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn and understand. After all, what’s wisdom without understanding? Let’s leave ALL of our children with REAL S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and really put into action, “No Child Left Behind.” They’ve had enough tests, they need a testimony! Will we be the Generations of Sisyphus that keep pushing the rock up the hill for all eternity or will we finally LIVE the words of this song by handing off the baton, passing the torch and leaving a legacy to the next generation? “It takes a village to raise a child; therefore it must take a village to abuse one.” – Anonymous
If you are stirred and want to research more from the experts, please check out Robert Reich's videos, books or Inequality for All and Saving Capitalism (Netflix). Click on these links to start.