It’s no surprise that income inequality in the United States is an increasingly concerning economic point. What is surprising, perhaps, is that it’s of concern to many politicians and businesspeople on a spectrum that covers both the left and the right.
Henry R. Kravis, co-founder of KKR, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, readily admits that income inequality exists. “There is inequality, maybe a lot of inequality,” he said. His proposed solution is based on a belief that the actual make-up of the upper class is in constant flux: “People are moving into and out of this 1%. I believe in bringing everyone up, not bringing everyone down to a lower common denominator.”
Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton also believes income inequality is of vital importance and needs to be addressed, though her opinions on how this should be done differ from those of Kravis and others on the right. “I believe we have to build a growth-and-fairness economy,” said Clinton at a speech at the New School in New York City. “You can’t have one without the other.”
Ultimately, income inequality is a problem for everyone, no matter what their political leaning. A recent survey from Harvard Business School found that a “troubling divergence in the American economy” could harm the country’s overall economy. With such an obvious division between the haves and have-nots, civil unrest is almost inevitable.
Whether it’s conservative Silicon Valley publisher Ron Unz pushing for a $12 and hour minimum wage in California or Independent Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders fighting to make public colleges free, people on both sides of the political aisle are finally admitting that income inequality is a serious issue that needs to be addressed effectively.
The key, however, is to find a way to deal with the problem that doesn’t also negatively impact the economy. Economic instability could end up being just as much, if not more, of a problem than inequality if the situation isn’t handled well.