Free Essay

Inequality in the United States

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jmseikali
Words 801
Pages 4
Inequality in the United States In today’s American home life, the pressure of living the American dream has strained society. According to the article The Dangerous Consequences of Growing Inequality, the authors state that “a powerful consequence of growing inequality is an erosion in the amount of free time that families have.” (Collins and Yeskel 155) Though advancements have been made in the work environment, many are working harder to earn the same wages to try to keep up with the changing economy. While unemployment and debt are increasing, there has been a decline in health insurance, retirement security, and ability to earn a proper education. The United States’ gap of inequality is continuously increasing with the changing economy. Presently, many Americans are faces stresses that they did not in the past. The cost of living has risen, yet many cannot afford to maintain a comfortable lifestyle with the wages that they are receiving. The article Dangerous Consequences of Growing Inequality states, “Families continue to make up for falling wages in order to maintain a certain standard of living is by going deeper into debt.” (156) Because debt continues to grow, people are not able to save for their families. The use of credit cards has fueled this problem because people are allowed to borrow money constantly, but do not have the means to pay it back. The income of the average family should increase as the standard of living increases in order to lessen inequality among the classes in today society. Because the standard of living has increased, society has had a harder time accessing certain things in life. First, the cost of health care has increased, but wages have only gone up a fraction compared to that cost. According to the article, “The United States is the only industrialized nation that views health care as a privilege, not a basic human right.” (Collins and Yeskel 156) This is unfortunate because many who cannot afford health care, cannot even afford to pay their own medical bills so some chose to not seek medical attention even though it could be life threatening. Also, the affordability of education has diminished rapidly. According to the article, “Student debt has dramatically increased from an average of $8,200 per student in 1991 to $18,900 in 2003.” (Collins and Yeskel 157) The ability to receive loans in easy, but the interest does not help students with the debt issues they face. Luxuries that would help quality of life have now been set to a higher standard that many cannot reach. Wealth is a combination of everything owned by a person minus liabilities, yet the amount of wealth per family has changed drastically. Because many are in debt, their wealth or net worth is not very high which determines their “social class.” Though the wealth of our nation may be increasing, the article It's the Inequality, Stupid talks about the fact that it is only about 20% of people receiving about 85% of the nation’s wealth while 80% of people are receiving 15% (Gilson and Perot 2011). These numbers would surprise many Americans because many do not think of the difference as being so much, but it is. According to Is the US Becoming a Third World Country?, the article states, “if a country becomes wealthier because rich people are getting richer while everyone else treads water, that country is no better off than it was before.” (Chachy 2009) The United States needs to adjust the division of wealth in order to mend the extreme differences in social inequality. Social inequality has become a great issue in the United States because of the changing in the economy. The distribution of wealth needs to be reevaluated so that everyone can receive a nice piece of the pie. Not everyone is able to go from “rages to riches” like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. To be successful in any way people have to put themselves into debt whether it is to further their education or open their own business. We are trained to fantasize about climbing up the class spectrum to be successful.

Work Cited
Chachy, . "Is the US Becoming a Third World Country? ." The Map Scroll. 15 APR 2009. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <>.
Collins, Chuck, and Felice Yeskel. "The Dangerous Consequences of Growing Inequality." Readings for Inequality and Social Justice. 2. (2010): 155-162. Print.
Gilson, Dave, and Carlyne Perot. "It's the Inequality, Stupid." (2011): n. page. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <>.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

Economic Inequality in the United States

...Economic Inequality in the United States According to the Gross Domestic Product, also known as GDP, United States was measured the “largest” economy in the world (Mahoney 10/27/2015). However, all Americans do not share the high standard of living in the U.S. Levels of income and wealth inequality have always been high in the United States. While it is ideal for a democratic country like the United States to have political equality, the reality shows that this is not the case; as economic inequality ultimately causes political inequality under the current system of government. Income inequality has not only been prevalent, but has been polarizing further since the 1970s. Currently, twenty-percent of the population takes home 50% of the total income and the top 1% takes home 25% of the income and owns 40% of total wealth (Mahoney, 2015 October 27). While CEOs of the Fortune 100 makes over $14 million a year, an average worker makes $45,230 a year; this is a clear illustration of the income disparity in the United States. Further, it is worth mentioning that such trends are not necessary common; the United States has always had higher levels of income and wealth inequality when compared to other rich democracies (Mahoney, 2015 October 27). The average household income is currently stagnant, which suggest that the average household cannot easily grow economically in the U.S and cannot help close the income inequality gap. In the movie Inequality for All, the manager of......

Words: 1329 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Income Inequality in the United States

...development economists generally. The focus on poverty reduction reached a high point perhaps with the articulation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and with the extensive analytic work that has accompanied the MDGs.[2] Yet, much of the discussion of poverty reduction and economic development in low and middle income countries has either ignored the issue of income distribution or has tended to view income distribution only in terms of its impact on economic growth. Poverty and inequality, however, are intimately bound up with one another.[3] Both as an analytic issue and as a policy issue, there are severe limitations in attempting to deal with poverty – or, more broadly, with economic well-being – without also examining income inequality. Indeed, it is questionable that we can even define poverty independently of income distribution. In this essay, I want to develop the argument that economists and economic policy-makers should focus much greater attention on inequality as measured by the distribution of income (and wealth). The traditional focus simply on absolute levels of income as a measure of poverty and economic well-being is fundamentally flawed. My argument here has thee parts: • Poverty or, more generally, economic well-being cannot be effectively defined as distinct from income distribution. • Income distribution is fundamental to our understanding of justice (fairness) and human rights, and relative...

Words: 9565 - Pages: 39

Premium Essay

Wealth Inequality In The United States

...One of the biggest economic problems that the United States faces today is the wealth inequality that is spread throughout the country. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. How can this be solved? Why is it happening? What can I do to help? These are all questions that are asked far too often. It is said, on this topic, particularly speaking of the poor, that, “"The poor in America deserve to be poor because it is the result of choices their choices. They spend money poorly, they don't study in school, and they do not have the discipline needed to succeed." This statement sparked a lot of interest in me and really got me thinking. Do poor people really deserve to be poor? Is it really their own fault? Those are both bold statements – and I disagree completely with them both. The poor are getting poorer for the same reason people become poor in the first place: they are in a hole that is too deep to climb out of. If you ask any child if they want to be rich or poor when they grow up, 99% of them will reply by saying they want to be rich. No one wants to be poor! So why do people end up that way? I think it is because they don’t have the opportunity to become wealthy. I think a lot of the time it is because of the family that they are born in to. If your parents cannot afford to send you to a good high school...

Words: 594 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Environmental Inequality in the United States

...Environmental Inequality in the United States Introduction Minority and poor populations have been experiencing an unequal amount of exposure to various environmental hazards. The goal of this paper is investigate the situation at hand and provide an explanation to whether this treatment is ethical. Thus, in this paper, I will not only attempt to analyze reasons why these populations experience more pollution than other populations and the types of pollution that they experience, but I will also explore the solutions provided by other researchers on how to solve environmental inequalities. Previous research has been carried out to detect why most, if not all, of the polluting industries, such as power plants and waste facilities, tend to be located in minority and poor neighborhoods (Carter; Morello-Frosch; Pellow and Park; Bullard and Wright). Normally, people that live in low income neighborhoods will experience a disproportionately high amount of pollution compared to those living in high income neighborhoods (Morello-Frosch). Therefore, parks, trees, and outdoor recreational areas tend to be located in wealthy neighborhoods. Consequently, minority and poor neighborhoods tend to have the lowest ratios of parks-to-people (Carter). This means that there is a low amount of park space per 10,000 people. Other research shows that even if we ignore the level of income, minority neighborhoods, such as African American and Hispanic neighborhoods, will still experience higher......

Words: 3504 - Pages: 15

Premium Essay

Racism And Capitalism: Inequality In The United States

...Katiana Rachev Sociological Final Paper Capitalism is what our society is based upon and the effects of this not only cause inequalities but racism. Capitalism is a system that is established on trade in private parties, also known as businesses. It might not seem like this would be linked to inequalities of class and gender but the link is stronger than others. If you look at the wealth distribution in the United States, the difference between the upper class and middle to lower class is astonishing. The upper class receives, which is 10% of the population, more than 2/3rd of the wealth generated. This leaves less than a quarter to distribute between the middle to lower class (Johnson 43-44). The biggest inequality is with the money in America itself....

Words: 497 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Eugenics Movement: Inequality In The United States

...Throughout the past year, many forms of inequality have been put under the limelight. Movements like Black Lives Matter and issues like the North Dakota pipeline have made all U.S and global citizens aware of the rampant inequalities in the world. In the past, there have been many attempts to find the origin of this inequality. Previous movements like the Eugenics movement tried to establish the root of these problems as differences in genetics between different peoples. Though the moral grounding of this theory was incredibly unstable, it still gained popularity in the early 20th century. However, this theory has been proved immoral and incorrect countless times. The real origin of this inequality is the geographical locations of different...

Words: 1106 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

National Income Inequality In The United States

...Buckminster Fuller said that Wealth was defined as the capacity for meeting one’s needs to survive and thrive. Some people state it as “life-support”.As quoted by Robert F. Kennedy “If we should judge America by that, counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors…. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play … it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”(Robert F. Kennedy Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968) When the architect of GDP, Simon Kuznets, presented his first report to Congress, he warned against expecting GDP to answer the most important questions for a country: “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined by the GDP.” Later, he wrote in The New Republic, “goals for ‘more’ growth should specify of what and for what.” If we stop for a while and look at the present condition, we would come to know that we are too much dependent on economic growth....

Words: 633 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Social Inequality In The United States: Documentary Analysis

...Presidential candidate must have intentions of narrowing the wage gap between corporate CEO’s and their employees in order for my vote to be casted for him or her. Inequality between citizens is a growing problem that needs to be addressed in our nation. According to Robert Reich, former United States Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration, the financial top 1% in the United States takes in an increasingly larger annual income in comparison to the other 99% of Americans, whose wages remain relatively stagnant. Financial inequality comes with an inherent danger of bleeding through into social inequality in the form of severely contrasting classes. Healthy U.S. economy comes from a strong middle class. Consumer demand is crucial to the economic well-being of our country, however the bulk of consumers are not earning much and therefore not spending much. This lack of consumption leads to a slow in hiring and expansion. Reagan’s failed plan of trickle-down economics was a stark contrast to this reality. Not only that, but middle class is often forced to take loans in order to buy necessities and maintain a standard of living; and the debt grows in middle class while the top 1% is able to hold onto their money. Due to...

Words: 498 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Persisting Racial Inequality in the United States of America

...“Persisting Racial Inequality In The United States of America” When Thomas Jefferson and America’s founding fathers drafted the constitution, they envisioned a life of freedom and equality for themselves and every other citizen of the United States. Their vision had a huge caveat: only white men were created equally and held inherent rights. Our founding fathers immediately ingrained discrimination into the bones of this country and set the stage for years of struggle to achieve equal opportunity. After 185 years of denying equal social and economic opportunities to minorities and women, America’s leaders chose to act. The actions of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson brought forward a plan called affirmative action: to address the under-representation of qualified minorities and women in higher education and the workplace. With a foundation that contains discrimination in its core, affirmative action did not come without controversy. It has been the central topic of notable Supreme Court cases such as University of California Regents v. Bakke, Grutter v. Bollinger, and Fisher v. University of Texas. Many who oppose affirmative action argue that race-conscious programs lead to reverse discrimination and group preferences over individual merit. Through arguments, data and research, it will be shown that affirmative action is indeed an effective remedy for addressing racial inequality in higher education and other institutions. Without it in this current time, large......

Words: 2254 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Global Inequality In The United States: Documentary Analysis

...The Intent of the documentary were to make others aware of how the system that has been created is the cause of many nations living in poverty. As indicated in the documentary, the United States makes up less than 5% of the world’s population, but are consuming over 25% of the world’s resources and creating 30% of its major pollution. The U.S alone is contributing to a significant amount of the worlds poverty. However, poverty is not an issue that started in the 20th century. Global inequality began in 1492, with the start of European intervention. The colonial system took 500 yrs.’ to create. During the 16th century almost all of the continents were connected by brutal European domination, which spread to Asia and Africa. The capitalism and modern times started at the moment of the conquest the colonization and submission of the people of America by the Spanish and the Portuguese. The systematic and permanent process started when the Spanish and the Portuguese stole all the riches of the Incas and...

Words: 456 - Pages: 2

Free Essay


...Introduction Income inequality means that the income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. It generally refers to a society which the income gap between individuals or groups and also the international wealth gap. The percentage of income to a population is often presented by income inequality. It’s also considered as the gap between the rich and others and has been obviously growing for recently years. There have measures for income inequality. It’s important to view this data sets and measures as it can show the differences of a country, especially the advantages and disadvantages. Income inequality should have a clearer data or picture to explain the differences and can be also obtained by using those measures. The “Gini Coefficient” can measure income inequality. Gini Coefficient is the way to measure the distribution of nation residents’ income. Corrado Gini (Italian statistician and sociologist) is the person who developed and published it. The among values of distribution will be measured by Gini coefficient such as income levels. If everyone has the same income, it will be shown as Zero (perfect equality) in the Gini coefficient. Conversely, if Gini coefficient shows one mean that only got one person have the income, as know as perfect inequality. In the United States, there has been growing obviously for income inequality and the gap between rich and others. According to the report of Gini coefficient, united States have the high income inequality......

Words: 1589 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Better America

...University, Durham, NC Abstract Disagreements about the optimal level of wealth inequality underlie policy debates ranging from taxation to welfare. We attempt to insert the desires of ‘‘regular’’ Americans into these debates, by asking a nationally representative online panel to estimate the current distribution of wealth in the United States and to ‘‘build a better America’’ by constructing distributions with their ideal level of inequality. First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution. Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups—even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy—desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo. Keywords inequality, fairness, justice, political ideology, wealth, income Most scholars agree that wealth inequality in the United States is at historic highs, with some estimates suggesting that the top 1% of Americans hold nearly 50% of the wealth, topping even the levels seen just before the Great Depression in the 1920s (Davies, Sandstrom, Shorrocks, & Wolff, 2009; Keister, 2000; Wolff, 2002). Although it is clear that wealth inequality is high, determining the ideal distribution of wealth in a......

Words: 2606 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

The Effects of Wealth Inequality in the U.S.

...Anthony Giovenco Political Science Inequality Paper 12-18-14 The Effects of Wealth Inequality in the United States Wealth inequality in the United States has grown tremendously since 1970. The United States continuously reveals higher rates of inequality as a result of perpetual support for free market capitalism. The high rates of wealth inequality cause the growing financial crisis to persist, lower socio-economic mobility, increase national poverty, and have adverse effects on health and well being. There is no doubt that wealth inequality in America has been escalating quickly; the portion of total income earned by the top one percent has doubled since the beginning of the 1970’s. The wealthy are the main beneficiaries regarding income inequality. In the latest consensus of wealth distribution, the top one percent of Americans owned thirty five percent of the nations private wealth, and the top ten percent took home about fifty percent of all income in 2012. This figure is greater than the bottom 90 percent combined. The question commonly asked concerning this matter: How and why is this becoming so quickly unequal is to be examined. First, we must explain what is meant by the term “wealth.” Wealth is the collection of the assets people own. This includes homes, stocks, savings for pension, and bank accounts, minus all existing debts. The main issue regarding wealth inequality is income inequality. Income equality has grown increasingly in the past 30 years....

Words: 1470 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Income Inequality-Lorenzo Curve

...Running head: INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED STATES Income Distribution in the United States and the Lorenz Curve 1 Market economies are favored and well-known for generating macroeconomic growth and progress in industrialized nations, such as the United States. Numerous academic studies and economic research have been done not only to measure economic growth, but also to analyze any disparities in income distributions among the general American population. This paper will examine trends and patterns of American wages since the 1970s, focusing on shifts in income distributions to see if these shifts can be interpreted as income inequality across different sectors of our society. Furthermore, this paper will study two important and interlinked methods of measuring income inequality, which are the Lorenz Curve and the Gini Coefficient Index. The Executive Branch of our federal government and the U.S. Congress keep a close eye on income distributions throughout the entire nation. These bodies rely heavily on data collected and analyzed by non-partisan agencies such as the U.S. Census Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and academic institutitions that provide data and statistical analysis to assist in economic and budgetary decisions made by elected officials concerning a wide array of policy issues such as taxes, social insurance programs and other issues that impact the overall......

Words: 2108 - Pages: 9

Premium Essay

Cause and Effect of Income Inequality

...John Ventola Eng 101 Nov 16, 2015 Cause and Effect of Income Inequality The causes of income inequality in the United States came from many reasons and years; it affected the States a lot for generations. Researches have been made a huge topic of this subject matter. Income inequality is caused by wage growth, and values between the high and low earning workers in the states. Income inequality is getting worse according to” Thomas Sowell”, in his article “the root causes of income inequality”, he mentioned the factors that created income inequality. He talked about one of the problems is the statistics, and how it refers to a given set of people, such as the rich and poor. But in fact it refers to whoever is in a particular income bracket at a particular time. Thomas gave example of people who start out of the bottom 20 percent, over 95 percent of the people who start out there are no longer there 15 years later. In fact they reach the top 20 percent after that time period and stay at bottom of 20 percent, so the statistics are normally quoted are usually very misleading. (Thomas Sowell) In the movie “income inequality for all” by “Robert B. Reich” talked about how 5 percent of the Americans with highest income now they account 37 percent of the consumer’s purchases. He says our “United States has become unequal”. (Robert Reich) There are many causes and effects of income inequality in the United States, but I would like to discuss only three of them. Education is......

Words: 493 - Pages: 2