Gap between the rich and the poor

By Andrew Ojemann

The gap between the rich and the poor is a growing problem in our current economy.  Not only is the actual gap growing, but surveys show that public perception of the gap is growing as well.

Why is this a problem?  As the average American finds it harder to make ends meet on a daily basis, they see the rich becoming increasingly frivolous.  In fact studies show that an increasing number of Americans see the rich as greedy.  This discord can already be seen in protest movements like the ones on Wall Street.  As more of the country struggles however it’s not only those on the left who are increasingly dissatisfied.  Those on the right are beginning to talk about the issue as well.  Once sentiment becomes strong enough the rich will be facing bipartisan discontent from the poor.  As the gap only show signs of widening this discontent can only grow further in the future.  There starts to become a risk of social, economic, political, and even military uprising if this problem is not eventually dealt with.

So what can be done to avert this growing problem.  For starters companies need to change they look at employees and stockholders.  As it stands now companies sink all their efforts into making short term returns for the stock holders.  This includes numerous decisions that actually hurt the company in the long term, however the current mentality is to get rich now and worry about the fallout later.  We need to foster a business culture where making strong long term choices is rewarded, this will strengthen our businesses and also plays into my next point.  One way to go about this is to focus on training and retaining a more highly skilled work force.  Provide employees with advanced training opportunities, invest in creating a smarter, more efficient work force as it will save costs over time.  Then invest the money to retain that work force by raising salaries.  I think we should enable companies to take this rout by allowing retraining companies and investors to look at the work force as an investment into the future, rather than a cost for today.