According to Equality Trust, an organization that campaigns for economic equality, “Living in an unequal society causes stress and status anxiety, which may damage your health.” In both affluent and developing countries, economic hardships, inequalities, and job instability have sparked major protests. In order to fix the problem of wealth inequality in DC, Phil Mendelson, the Chairman of the DC council, should pass an act to require an increase in the minimum wage to $20.49 per hour and invest in education for low-income students by taxing wealthy citizens more heavily.
The first solution to inequality is to increase the minimum wage. Currently, a Washingtonian making the minimum wage of $15.20 per hour could not afford a one-bedroom condominium in DC. However, if they were paid $20.49 per hour, they would be able to live more comfortably and have about $300 left after taxes and rent to spend freely, whether that’s on food, clothes, or insurance. This is implying that no one earning only about $15.20 per hour could live here, suggesting that Mr. Mendelson should raise the minimum wage to make DC a sustainable place for all to live.
Another solution to economic inequality is to invest in education. Research shows that “More progressive funding practices will lead to more opportunities for low-income students and students of color… More broadly, supporting efforts to dismantle the influence of capitalism in our social sector and supporting an economy that taxes the wealthy at a higher rate will allow for adequate support and funding of public sectors like public education and support for low-income families.” (Martin). This matters because by taxing the wealthier more, the state will have more significant funds to invest in public education. This, in turn, would increase opportunities for low-income students.
Some may counter that DC should not raise the minimum wage because small businesses cannot afford to pay their employees more per hour. They believe this because “many businesses [who] cannot afford to pay their workers more…will be forced to close, lay off workers, or reduce hiring.” However, they are wrong. By increasing the minimum wage, the government can save money, because many people would not need government benefits anymore. As The Brookings Institution notes, “The Economic Policy Institute determined that by increasing the minimum wage, more than 1.7 million Americans would no longer be dependent on government assistance programs. They report the increase would shave $7.6 billion off annual government spending on income-support programs.” This shows how the government can save money by increasing the minimum wage and spending it in areas like education.
Wealth Inequality is a significant issue in DC. When people are not treated properly in their communities, it has an impact on them, their society, and others. As a result, we can all grow together as a nation by investing in education and raising the minimum wage in DC. The Chairman of the DC Council, Phil Mendelson, can take the first steps towards fixing this issue by passing an act to increase the minimum wage to $20.49 per hour and by increasing taxes on the wealthiest DC residents to reinvest in education. These measures would aid the economy’s growth while also making DC more habitable for its citizens. So, what are you going to do? I need you to inform others—anyone you know. This argument will be one step closer to Phil Mendelson’s desk if it reaches the mayor. At the very least, we need him to THINK about combating wealth disparity in DC.
Martin, J. (2020, August 25). Solutions for education inequality. Faireconomy.Org. https://www.faireconomy.org/solutions_for_education_inequality
Liu, J. P. A. S. (2021, March 18). A $15 minimum wage would help millions of struggling households in small and mid-sized cities achieve self-sufficiency. Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2021/03/17/higher-regional-minimum-wages-can-lift-half-of-struggling-households-into-economic-self-sufficiency/