Poverty in the U.S.

961 WordsJun 18, 20184 Pages
According to a 2013 article in the Economist, the US currently boasts the highest post-tax level of income inequality of any high-income country in the world (Economist 2013). The nations Gini Coefficient – a measure of wealth inequality – currently stands at .42, well above that of other nations such as Switzerland and Sweden, which have Gini Coefficients of .31 and .33 respectively. Unfortunately this high level of income and wealth inequality is growing. Between 1979 and 2011, American earners in the top one percent saw wages increase by 113 percent, earners in the 95th percentile saw wages grow 37 percent (Fuller 2014). However, the income growth for the median worker during that same period was a mere six percent. These simple…show more content…
Without adequate health insurance, many families become burdened with healthcare debt, further tightening the shackles of poverty, and making upward mobility almost impossible. The US economy relies heavily on the middle class, and the lower class, to keep the economy growing, and to create jobs (Reich 2014a). When gains from economic growth disproportionately advantage the top one percent, the purchasing power of rest of society, especially the middle class, is diminished and they struggle to perform their necessary function. This situation disproportionately disadvantages the poor. As largely unskilled and less educated laborers, they are the first to be fired and the last to be hired. They bear the burden of declining wages and benefits. The middle class is also shrinking, and can no longer generate enough tax revenue to provide adequate education, safety nets, and family/social services for themselves and the poor. While wages, job accessibility, educational quality, and social services decline, and while income inequality grows to favor the wealthy, the income ladder gets longer and harder to climb. Upward mobility is increasingly daunting, and the shackles of poverty are growing tighter. Many conservative politicians openly deny or lack recognition of the connection between inequality and political power (Reich 2014a). However, this naïve and disingenuous sentiment emanates
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