In recent years the way wealth is distributed in the United States has sharply increased, causing an income gap between the upper class and the lower class. The country is becoming a banana republic in which most of the wealth is owned by the top 1%. This small percentage of the population is mainly composed of the entrepreneurs, businessmen, and lawyers. Although the United States is a democracy, in recent years, it has become a plutocracy nation. The wealth inequality plays a major role in this and if this trend between the upper class and the lower class continues it could cause many problems. First of all, having a country run by only a relatively small amount of people could be a concern because the power is in the hands of people at …show more content…
The top 1% grew their incomes by 86.1% since 1933; the top 5%, or 15 million individuals, have seen their incomes rise while everyone else is flat to down”. The wealthy are becoming even wealthier while the bottom 80% haven’t seen any changes in the amount of income they make. Their wages have been in a stagnant position. While those at the top have doubled their incomes. They even have the opportunity to generate more income by investing in other businesses to increase their profits. While those who are at the bottom are minimum wage workers making just enough to support their families. On the hand, the upper-class wealth has more than doubled and the lower class are still financially unstable since the Great Recession. The income inequality plays a major role in turning a nation into a plutocracy. Due to these wealth distributions, there is no doubt that the United States is a plutocratic nation run by the wealthy.
On the other hand, income equality has many harmful effects on those who are at the bottom. Since there is a vast gap between the upper class and the lower class it could cause many health related problems. For example, according to the University of York, those who are at the bottom are not only behind in the amount of income they generate, but there is a gap in their life expectancy. The professors from the University of York state, “Growing health inequality is often portrayed as a result of people’s lifestyle
As the 2016 United States election is fast approaching, the debates on wealth inequality has once again captured the public’s attention. The society is divided in its opinion of whether the government is responsible for allowing the leading financial institutes and business tycoons to accumulate their affluence within a lax regulatory environment. Others argue that the imbalance of income distribution between the rich and the poor are just simply part of the capitalism package. In order to understand the roots of wealth inequality and to review some of the key concepts that are fundamental to these discussions, former Reuters editor Chrystia Freeland’s "Plutocrats" is a riveting account on the rise of plutocracy.
Everywhere you look at the United States you can find economic stratification. From the kind of vehicle you drive, to the kind of house you live in, to the kind of restaurants you eat at the most you will find economic stratification. Some might ask, does any of that truly matter today? Yes, unfortunately, it does. An important goal for most people is what’s referred to as The American Dream. Whether it is to attend a good college, get a respectable job, purchase the perfect house, and have a small family or maybe just to start your own business; that dream starts with wealth. People with more money will have an easier time with achieving the dream than a lower income person would. With wealth comes power and prestige as well. People with more money have better life chances because they can afford better healthcare, education, healthier food, and safer neighborhoods just to name a few things.
In William Domhoff’s article, Wealth, Income, and Power, he examines wealth distribution in the United States, specifically financial inequality. He concludes that the wealthiest 10% of the United States effectively owns America, and that this is due in large part to an increase in unequal distribution of wealth between 1983 and 2004. Domhoff also states that the unequal wealth distribution is due in large part to tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions. Most of Domhoff’s information is accurate and includes strong, valid arguments and statements. However, there is room for improvement when identifying the subject of what is causing the inequality.
It can be said that money is power in the United States, and this is brought out in the essay, “Class in America---2012” written by Gregory Mantsios. He says that even though many Americans do not like to discuss class, “it can determine where people live, who their friends are, how well they are educated, and what they do for a living” (Mantsios). Many Americans do not speak about class type, and most find it unacceptable (Mantsios). Unfortunately, we can see that there are laws that are built to help and better the wealthy, while it cripples the rest of us. According to the Economic Policy Institute, “The richest twenty percent of Americans hold nearly ninety percent of the total household wealth in this county” (Institute) Gregory Mantsios without reserve describes the majority of people are at a disadvantage in their social class, while the upper class is compensated.
In a research of Harvard professor 5000 people in America have opinion in how they think about the actual distribution of wealth in the U.S. and the 92 percent choose the ideal would be 20 percent and 20 percent the middle class. However, the reality is very far from it. “The poorest are not even registered, they are on the package change and the middle class is barely distinguished from the poor, even the rich between the 10 % and 20 % are worst off, only the top 10 % are better off. Only the one percent gets ten time higher and 40 % all the nation wealth. The bottom 80 % 8 out 10 people only has 7 % between them.1 % makes a quarter of the national income today”(you tube, 2015). All of this data reflex one of the truly perspectives in economy of the U.S. Not only people with low wages are the most affected, but also those who have good jobs and
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.
Furthermore, when analyzing the different classes, and the distributions of wealth and income in the United Sates; for instance, the upper, middle, and lower classes – it is an astronomical amount of wealth that the top 1 percent acquire. It is also noted by Johnson & Rhodes (2015), “that income and wage inequality have risen sharply over the last thirty years” (pg. 228). Equally important to this, is how the average change in income is divided in Americas quintiles and the widening gaps. For example, in Table 5.2, while the lowest fifth quintile increased from $11,128 to $11,361 – a difference of $233.00 from years 2006 to 2012; the highest quintile increased from $289,446 to $319,918 – an exponential increase of $30,472 (pg. 229). With income inequalities at this rate, it is difficult for the majority of the United States to experience upward social mobility. Pursuing this further, in a line stated by Johnson and Rhodes (2015), “The wealthiest Americans can live on the dividends from their investments without having to touch the principle or work for a salary” (pg. 230). From this, it is visible to see how society has compartmentalized different levels of functions to keep a so called balance for the greater
Today in America, income and wealth inequality has continued to grow at an unsettling pace. The rich continue to get richer, while the number of people categorized as lower class grows exponentially. As Joseph Stiglitz has explained, many theories that are seen as strongly Republican, such as the trickle-down effect, has caused the rich to take money from the poor, and as a result the lower class grows and the middle class disintegrates. The top 1 percent of America’s households currently holds 30 percent of America’s economy, which is much more than other first-world countries and helps to emphasize the extremity of inequality currently in America today. This increased inequality has in turn caused America to become a much more divided society; those born in poverty typically stay in poverty, with little to no chance of self-improvement due to a lack of education provided in their areas. In contrast, those that are born wealthy typically go to better schools, have better health care, and are all but spoon fed information on how to remain wealthy. These two sides of society almost never cross, and this causes the country to be more divided than ever. In order to limit this inequality, drastic changes must be made, such as large corporations paying their fair share of taxes and giving back to the lower class, and minimum wage should be raised. If everyone in America works together, we can raise social mobility and re-unite what has become an increasingly divided country.
The highest earning fifth of U.S. families earned 59.1% of all income, while the richest earned 88.9% of all wealth. A big gap between the rich and poor is often associated with low social mobility, which contradicts the American ideal of equal opportunity. Levels of income inequality are higher than they have been in almost a century, the top one percent has a share of the national income of over 20 percent (Wilhelm). There are a variety of factors that influence income inequality, a few of which will be discussed in this paper. Rising income inequality is caused by differences in life expectancy, rapidly increases in the incomes of the top 5 percent, social trends, and shifts in the global economy.
This “middle-class nation” is struggling to support all those who live in its borders and the misconceptions about wealth are vastly overrated. Furthermore, the idea of wealth and stability is incorrect, and there is a very sharp contrast between the rich and poor in the country. As the richest twenty percent of American hold ninety percent of the total household of the total household wealth in the country, those at the bottom have managed very poorly and suffer to get through the days.
Capitalism has been the central force behind the growth of the United States’ progressive economy. Within such advanced economic system the chances of economic disparity are significantly high. In fact, over the past three decades there has being a steady increase in unequal wealth distribution among the economic classes. To sustain the current unequal wealth distribution among the classes of the American population, there are numerous factors that influence and shape this trend. For some members of the population it is alarmingly disturbing to know that recent statistics have shown that, “In the US [alone] the wealthiest 1% of its population owns more than the bottom 95 %” (Gutman). As for the difference in economic wealth, it resulted
One of the social issues concerning power, status, and class in American society today is income inequality. The income gap between the social classes has increased drastically throughout the last few decades, creating a significant gap between the wealthy and the poor. This gap has become so large that the middle class has nearly diminished, creating a social class comprised of the rich and the poor. The significant gap between the two social classes is unhealthy for the economy because it provides too much power in the hands of those with high social status.
In the article “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Joseph Stiglitz, a noble prize winning economist, argues that the upper 1% controls about 40% of all wealth in America. This top 1% has taken about a quarter of all income in America, and has seen their income rise about 18% in the past decade. This has made the inequality between classes in the US expand. Eventually, this inequality gap will even hurt the top 1%, because the other 99% will either fight for a bigger piece or just stop working all together. The top 1% can buy anything they need, but their fate realizes on the other 99% to work hard and not fight back. If the 99% stopped working, there would be a simple way to gain back money… that would be to raise taxes on the rich. However, the rich get rich by capital gains, which have a low tax policy. So overall, the upper percent can eventually learn, but a majority of the time it is too little too late.
Income inequality is a phenomenon that is undeniably real in our current world, and more specifically, the present United States. Canon describes how the gap between the elite and the poor has been consistently growing for many years and continues to widen (189). Whether the differences between the top and the bottom are a threat to current society is another story. Does income inequality undermine a democracy? Ray Williams argues that societies are strongest when they have a higher rate of equality while George Will challenges that inequality is the very basis of what make democratic processes. A. Barton Hinkle takes a Libertarian approach to the idea that inequality is threatening to democracy and how it can be fixed. Some threats that each article addressed were economic impacts, civility, and fairness. Overall, there is a definite need to evaluate whether the United States democracy is being threatened due to the continuous rise of the elites and the fall of the working class.
The era of volatility has created a shift from America being the middle-class society to simply rich or poor (Sachs, 2011). A gap this large has not been experienced since the 1920’s (Sachs). “The top 1% of households takes almost a quarter of all household income” but an economy this top heavy will not be able to succeed (Sachs, 2011, p. 30). The working classes are struggling with housing, wage, and employment issues. Rich individuals are ignoring these troubles, shipping their business operations out of the country, thus furthering the downward spiral of the economy (Sachs). To make matters worse, this has become in a large part a political issue, because the rich can influence candidates with funding, where the poor and working