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Reaching Across the Gap: Poverty in America

  • Date Submitted: 05/20/2010 06:37 PM
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Kayla Ross
Honors NSL
Mr. Ostry
March 4 2009

Reaching Across the Gap: Does Income Inequality Affect the Poverty Levels in America?

In an ideal world, everyone would be able to provide for themselves and their loved ones comfortably and happily. Over the centuries, many have tried to achieve this goal, from the ancient Utopian theorists to modern communism. For now, this goal remains unachieved, and our world suffers under imperfect governments and a flawed economy. In today's American society, 12.5 percent of our population, about 37 million, are officially living in poverty. Even so, the level of poverty seen today is starkly different than that of a mere few decades ago. But the cruel fact is that our economy does not favor the unfortunate, and the gap between the rich and the poor has only continued to escalate as the majority of the wealth remains concentrated in only a small percent of the population. Does this affect the lifestyle of the less fortunate in our society? Or is poverty slowly, but surely, being eradicated?
A popular slogan used often by President Obama during his campaign was “spread the wealth.” At the moment, the vast majority of our country's economy is controlled by a small percent of the population. This small percent, naturally, benefit the most from a successful economy, and leaves the working class to suffer their failures. The poverty levels of the country are directly related to the state of its economy; more jobs are created as the market expands, while during recession, jobs are lost and income goes down. That is how capitalism works. In this sort of   win/lose situation, poverty is an inevitable side-effect. Those with better contacts, more charisma, talent, and luck are favored over the less endowed, and this in turn has led to an unequal distribution of wealth not only among Americans, but across the entire world. According to economist Edward Wolff, more than half of the wealth is controlled by approximately 5% of the...

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