In a recent article, The Wall Street Journal reported that, during the past decade, the median income was down 6 percent (with the bottom 90 percent down 10.7 percent) and income for the top 1 percent was 19.3 percent of all income in 2012. Meanwhile, the stock market is up 24 percent in 2013. The primary reasons given were high corporate profit margins caused by a lower share of revenue going to wages and profits going to taxes. The commentary also advises that an economy with less income disparity might be healthier.
Another in-depth article on college major choices and employer priorities for evaluating graduates for jobs identified internships and employment during college as the two most important factors. Unfortunately in recent years, many businesses have either reduced these opportunities or, when offered, have not provided an equitable salary. My own experience was that these opportunities were invaluable in helping me make course choices and increasing my employment opportunities.
Given the escalating costs of higher education, more students require financial assistance to graduate and avoid encumbering themselves with loan payments. If business values this prior experience so highly, they have a responsibility to provide more equitable internships, including ones for high school students.
Economists are unsure how to be resolve our growing inequality problem. I believe the American "can-do spirit" calls all of us to look for ways to help reduce this problem rather than hoping that time or Washington will resolve it.
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