Sklar and the Economist: Inequality in America

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America was once known as the land of opportunity. However, that is no longer the case. Americans are still suffering from a depression that began three years ago in 2008. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007, the United States unemployment rates were 4.6 percent. In 2009, one year after the depression began, the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. Millions of Americans are living in poverty, unable to afford the basic necessities. On the other hand, there is a minuscule percent of the population that are billionaires. Written in 2005, Holly Sklar’s essay “The Growing Gulf Between the Rich and the Rest of Us” argues that if something isn’t done about the growing inequality between the rich and the poor, the American…show more content…
In doing so Sklar puts the total number of poor into terms with which the reader can identify. These Americans cannot afford shelter, food, health care, transportation and other basic necessities. Sklar also compares the unprecedented rise in wealth to the decrease in income for the middle and lower classes in America. “Median household income fell for the fifth year in a row to $44,389 in 2004 – down from $46,129 in 1999, adjusting for inflation” (Sklar 310). With the rising costs of living expenses, many Americans live paycheck to paycheck and struggle to meet their financial responsibilities. To make the situation worse, government programs to alleviate the worst problems for the poor are disappearing. Sklar says, “More budget cuts are in the pipeline for Medicaid, Food Stamps, and other safety nets for Americans whose wages don’t even cover the cost of the necessities” (310). Although the Economist argues that economic inequality is acceptable under certain conditions, one of these conditions is a safety net for the poor, and this net is disappearing.. Millions more will go hungry and go without medical care due to these budget cuts. The information about the poor in the Economist’s piece is firmly grounded by facts within Sklar’s article. For instance, Sklar’s use of the Census Bureau finding of the large
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