chapter  5
Income and Wealth and Power and Poverty
WithDouglas Dowd
Pages 18

Given the structures of socioeconomic power, struggles over the distribution of income and wealth are the main realm of conflicts between those who own and control capital on the one hand and the other social interests on the other. The increase in inequality of income and wealth in the years since the 1970s depended upon and facilitated a recapture of power at the top and a reduction of income, wealth, and power for the bottom four-fifths of families—and poverty increased. The wealthy are strategically positioned to affect policies that will enhance their wealth and, with that same power, to neutralize any redistributive income and wealth effects of governmental income, estate, and inheritance taxes. Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) had just become president, the Vietnam war was escalating, there was a mounting civil rights and antipoverty movement, and LBJ wished to be known as a liberal leader taking us to his “Great Society”—including a “war on poverty”.