INCOME INEQUALITY CONTINUES to grow in many countries including 20 out of 29 advanced economies. Wealth is significantly more unevenly distributed than income worldwide. This has many people very concerned for the future of America.

Recent events have reminded us that there are pockets of poverty and despair. There is a great gulf between our “haves” and “have nots.” The middle class has shrunk with every generation since the baby boomers. More than half of U.S. households basically live from paycheck to paycheck.

Income inequality besets individuals and households of all ages and in all areas of the country. It’s a perplexing problem. While we search for answers, the poor risk becoming homeless.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to tens of millions of lost jobs; careers have been put on hold; thousands of small businesses have had to shut down; people have been unable to pay their rent, home mortgages, car loans, credit card balances or even put food on their tables.

Millions of young people are turning to politicians who promise forgiveness of their student loan debts, which total $1.6 trillion, offer free health care and other socialist ideals. That’s why we are seeing violent protests and civil unrest to make a dramatic impact on the country.

Our universities, once beacons of hope and enlightenment for the world, have been hijacked by lifelong academics serving a bloated and corrupt education system, said author and economist Stephen Leeb.

College graduates are saddled with enormous debt and indoctrinated in socialist ideologies. As a result, many of these students believe that someone else should pay for the huge debt they have blindly borrowed without a second thought.

Several cities, like Stockton, Calif., are experimenting with giving cash to their poor people to see if that can alleviate the income inequality problem. The universal basic income idea was proposed by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.

Critics of the idea point to several potential drawbacks. First, if only people below a certain income receive the transfers and aren’t required to work, they may hesitate to seek or take a job or a higher-paying one since they would then forgo the payment. Most Americans believe in having a “safety net” program.

Proponents say the recent government program that sent $1,200 checks to American families seemed to have positive results. They also say the system can only trust people to make good decisions. Proponents admit that it is unlikely Congress will enact guaranteed income anytime soon.

A national guaranteed income would carry a steep price tag. Giving $10,000 a year to individuals earning less than $20,000 or married households earning less than $40,000 with a long phaseout period would cost roughly $1.2 trillion or nearly 5.9% of annual economic output, according to University of Maryland economist Melissa Kearney. That is more than the federal government spent on Social Security in 2019.

According to the Pew Research Center, 55% of Americans oppose universal basic income schemes. Because of the devastating economic effects of COVID-19, spending trillions of dollars we don’t have hasn’t been a deterrent. The cost of doing nothing would be even more.

On a more positive note, economists say more than 100 million Americans save in 401(k), up from 19 million in 1990.They also save using IRA accounts, 403(b) and 529 college savings plans. How the stock markets perform does matter. As the economy grows and prospers, so do the assets of those Americans.

Proponents of massive income tax increases for the well-to-do argue that if the lowest 40% of households received universal basic income subsidies, giving them a much improved life prospect, it would not seriously diminish the life prospects of the wealthiest 10 or 20%.