Los costos en aumento de la desigualdad de renta en los Estados Unidos

BERKELEY – Durante los últimos decenios, la desigualdad de renta en los Estados Unidos ha aumentado en gran medida... y esa tendencia no da muestras de ir a invertirse. La última vez en que la desigualdad era tanta como ahora fue justo antes de la Gran Depresión. Un nivel tan elevado de desigualdad no sólo es incompatible con las normas de justicia social e igualdad de oportunidades observadas de forma generalizada, sino que, además, representa una grave amenaza para la economía y la democracia de los Estados Unidos.

Un factor subyacente a la desigualdad que va en aumento en este país es el estancamiento de los ingresos de la mayoría de los americanos. Como el aumento de los beneficios resultantes del crecimiento económico va a parar a una fracción diminuta de hogares de renta elevada de los EE.UU., los ingresos de la familia media correspondiente al 90 por ciento inferior han estado estancados desde 1980. Según un informe reciente del Consejo de Asesores Económicos, si el porcentaje de ingresos que fuera a parar al 90 por ciento inferior hubiese sido en 2013 el mismo que en 1973, la renta anual mediana de los hogares (ajustada según el tamaño de las familias) habría sido un 18 por ciento, es decir, 9.000 dólares, mayor que ahora.

Los ingresos disponibles (descontados los impuestos y las transferencias) de las familias pobres de los EE.UU. llevan decenios a la zaga de sus homólogos de otros países desarrollados. Ahora la clase media también está quedando rezagada.

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