A Brief Examination Of Wealth Inequality

1663 WordsMay 3, 20177 Pages
A Brief Examination of Wealth Inequality in America Thomas Buonanno Debating U.S. Issues April 7, 2017 With every passing moment, the problem gets worse, and many people in this country do not even know it exists. Over the past few decades, the middle class has slowly begun to disappear as trillions of dollars have shifted to the top 1% of the country. This pandemic so infiltrated the American economy that the richest 400 individuals in America today own more wealth than the poorest 150 million people, more than half the country’s population. Despite a thriving GDP, the wages of workers have stagnated, and, simultaneously, the economy has grown so top-heavy that it is at risk of capsizing. Ever since the 1970s, the gap…show more content…
In 1978, the richer household was 220 times wealthier than the average household. Today, the richer household is an astonishing 1,220 times wealthier than the average household. Robert Putnam, a Public Policy Professor at Harvard University said the following about the situation: “We’re moving toward an America that none of us has ever lived in, a world of two Americas, a completely economically divided country.” This may seem dramatic, but in many ways, this is a new reality for millions of Americans. We have begun to settle for a lower standard of living blaming our lack of wealth on “the poor economy.” This is an erroneous position which the top 1% thrives upon. In reality, it is not the economy, but how the economy’s rules are set up that determines who benefits from the wealth generated. For instance, any one of the ten wealthiest individuals in America made enough money in 2012 to pay the cost of individual housing for every homeless person in America for an entire year. Upon comparing 141 different countries, the United States ranked 4th-highest in wealth inequality, with only Ukraine, Lebanon and Russia having a more polar distribution of wealth. These statistics would not present a problem if only Americans could work their way up the socioeconomic ladder. Despite their efforts, however, much of the data shows that upward mobility is improbable if not impossible in many cases. American workers have used several tactics to try to break out of
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