Toxic Inequality Summary

Decent Essays

Toxic Inequality by Thomas M. Shapiro is a collection of short stories that follow different individuals coming from distinct economic backgrounds. In one scenario, a single mother named Patricia Arrora faces many challenges such as finding a job as an African American and facing residential segregation when trying to find a house. In another scenario, Cindy Breslin, a struggling widowed mother, was suddenly faced with a string of bad luck. Cindy found out she had thousands of dollars owed on credit cards with exorbitant rates, forced to pay funeral expenses for her Vietnam veteran husband and her sister’s car accident, and trying to get her daughter through college with the money she has left over. Both of these scenarios are just some of …show more content…

Together, they made around $83,000 and had around $90,000 in assets which placed them solidly in the middle class. Twelve years later, Allison and David experienced setbacks but increased their income to about $125,000. Their financial assets quadrupled to a whopping $368,000 and saved up thousands of dollars for retirement. However, with the economy downsizing on the heels of the Great Recession and uneven job recovery heavily tilted toward low-wage jobs, David joined millions of other Americans in unemployment. Having spent half a year unemployed, David returned to work working at a significantly lower wage. Over the course of 12 years, David witnessed how work became less stable and more contingent for many Americans. The working experience illustrates a larger transformation in America’s employment landscape, away from middle-class jobs and jobs with significant benefits toward low-paying jobs with few benefits, accelerated by the Great Recession. Another topic demonstrated in the book is inequality at home. For many, home symbolizes stability and physical security; for others it signifies an investment, an identity, or a crucial mark of citizenship. Yet, not every home and community offers all of these advantages, and not everyone takes the same path home. In recent years, buying a home has become more difficult as both wealth and race matter. High cost of home ownership is just one of the many reasons underlying the stratification of secure housing in a strong

Get Access