She also points out it's not just globalization that we should blame for the growing inequality.
In the U.S., education is also driving this dynamic. Americans with some college education have realized the strongest growth in wealth with an average net worth increase of 31 percent.So, what's the answer? How do we make globalization work for everyone?
High school graduates' wealth modestly increased; dropouts' wealth actually declined.
That supports a recent survey that found the most likely person to leave Michigan today is a 40-something man with no college education -- the group most displaced by globalization.
Many Republicans and Democrats avoid talking about growing inequality. If they do, they argue the solution is for more folks to go to college. This crowd likes to blame Americans themselves.Amen. We're not all college material, and quite frankly, we need janitors, plumbers, waiters, home health care aides, etc. Somewhere along the line, we've become snobs in this country. I was raised to respect a person regardless of what they did for a living and I passed that lesson along to my children. Some of them are college graduates and some of them aren't, but they all work hard for a living and deserve a decent middle-class lifestyle, as do all Americans.
On the other end of the spectrum, leaders such as John Edwards argue that creating more college-goers cannot be the only solution. If all or most Americans get a college education, they say, then the value of a college degree will decrease -- making all college grads' salaries fall.
Passionate Michiganians often echo Edwards' feelings.
The truth is, both crowds are right. The U.S. needs more college graduates to compete globally.
At the same time, we need policies that will reward the hard work of America's non-rich and boost their wealth, regardless of college degree.
We don't want to live in a country where only people with master's degrees can live a decent, middle-class life with strong K-12 schools, college and access to good health care.
Our policies need to consider the additional causes of our widening wealth gap, including tax breaks for the mega-wealthy; the lack of strong U.S. employment strategies; and the decline of unions, which were essential to building 20th-century America's middle class.
The question, really, comes down to this: What kind of society do Americans want to create in this century?
The avoiders will continue to try to weakly dispute whether inequality is growing.
But intelligent leaders and citizens will take on the issue. And the best will figure out how to make globalization work for more people.
Rewarding people for their hard work. That's the kind of society I want America to create in this century, and if leaders step forward with solutions to make that possible, they'll get my vote, and more than likely the votes of millions of other hardworking Americans too.