Growing income inequality is creating a gulf between Americans, author Linda Tirado tells Newsmax TV.
"We are really turning into very different societies where a poor person from the South and a rich person from the North will have absolutely nothing in common despite their shared American-ness," she tells the network's "MidPoint" show.
"We are dividing. We're doing it along class, race, gender, political affiliation. And we stop thinking of ourselves as Americans first. When we do that, we risk our country, and we risk this great experiment that we've embarked upon. We can do better."
Story continues below video.
Watch Newsmax TV now on DIRECTV Ch. 349
and DISH Ch. 223
Get Newsmax TV on your cable system – Click Here Now
One main reason why the wealth gap keeps expanding is that power lies in the hands of the wealthy, says Tirado, author of "Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America."
"The rich people write the rules. The first thing we need to realize is that any system pretty much exists to exist, and whichever system we put into place, it's going to do that."
That's why taxes have been cut on capital gains, but not payroll taxes, Tirado says. "When we reinforce all of these systems that create wealth for those who already have it and depress wealth for those who don't have start-up capital, it's really no surprise that we wind up like this."
And what about the issue of personal responsibility?
"Everybody makes bad decisions from time to time," she says. "The question is do we uniquely demonize one class of people for doing so? In this country we do."
Many people who are forced to sell their assets, such as their home, "are in that situation as a result of medical bills, as the result of an accident, or a layoff. Something out of their control," Tirado says.
"So how you respond to an uncontrollable event if you don't have any good options? How can you look at somebody and say, you made a bad choice?"
Tirado says she agrees with conservatives that tax loopholes must be closed. "Let's change the system and make it not so attractive to not participate in a society at the pace that society is helping you out," she says.
"When you're on the bottom, if you're taking food stamps, there's not a whole lot you can give back. If you're taking a home mortgage tax deduction and a business lunch, I'm pretty sure you can afford 20 cents."
It would be helpful if poor people were actually part of the lawmaking process, Tirado says. "I'd love to see more people who are affected by these laws actually being the ones in the rooms helping draft them," she says.
"Most of the regulations and the rules that we see at least in the bottom third of America are nonsensical at best and counterproductive. If we could get people that actually live those lives in the room to help draft the policies, you'd see way more effective programs."
© 2021 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.