I was recently doing some research on a side project and, in the course of that research, ran across some data regarding incomes within the United States over time. What I found was pretty disturbing.
The above graph shows US mean household income, in 2017 CPI adjusted dollars, from 1967 to 2017. It is broken into quintiles and includes the top five percent of earners for comparison. I’ve also added the percentage growth for each line during the 50-year timespan.
I also calculated the ratio of “top five percent”-to-“lowest quintile” for 1967 and 2017.
- 1967: 17.5/1
- 2017: 29.0/1
While God mentioned that we will always have the poor with us, I don’t think he intended for us to make efforts that ensure it remains the case, so I’ve got several questions:
- What are the societal implications of an increasingly large income disparity?
- What can we do to ensure our nation doesn’t become a place of haves and have-nots?
- What does our Christian faith ask of us in this situation?
- How do we view this income disparity in the context of Doctrine and Covenants 49:19-20: “For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.”