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Social InCome Inequality

Essay by   •  February 20, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,186 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,761 Views

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A major social problem in America today is its inequality of the distribution of income. "Income inequality refers to the gap between the rich and the poor. The United States has the most unequal income distribution in the industrialized world, and it is growing at a faster rate than any other industrialized country" (Eitzen & Leedham, pg. 37). The main reason as to why income is distributed so unequally is because of the gap between social classes.

Each social class has a certain power, and that power is their economic ability to change society. The four major classes are the capitalists, managers, small entrepreneurs and the workers. A persons clothing, housing and educational opportunities usually depend on their class, but that is a direct reflection of their income. A person does not gain any class or power without their income being taken into consideration. The only problem is, is that there is also class inequality, which further prohibits people to earn an equal income.

Typically the working class is unable to afford a luxurious lifestyle because they have less access to life's goods due to their lower income (Feagin & Feagin, pg. 36). They don't have the prestigious lifestyle as someone higher up on the social ladder. The capitalists consist of top corporate executive; the managerial class consists of the managers, the small business class is your small risk-taking entrepreneurs and the working class is both white and blue collar workers. The income of these four groups goes from high to low respectively. The reason for this unequal income gap is that top positions are held by those more qualified and are therefore paid more.

Aside from being paid more and holding more economic power, capitalists control how much money the working class makes. "The yearly earnings of the low paid and less skilled have fallen by a large percentage than their hourly pay. In addition, the likelihood that employers will provide low skilled workers with fringe benefits such as health insurance or pensions has also dropped" (Eitzen & Leedham, pg. 47). It may seem unfair, but less educated or less skilled workers will continue to not receive any benefits or an increase in pay as long as the upper class controls our economy.

Two important factors that determine a workers' income, regardless of their class, are their race and gender. Minority groups as well as women are less likely to receive an income they deserve, regardless of the job. They are seen as less educated and less capable of doing certain jobs, and they are restricted in advancing and achieving a more suitable income. Only the top capitalists, white males, are receiving the bulk of the nation's income revenue and all the benefits that come along with it. They are the richest people of the United States and instead of being taxed like everyone else, they are allowed even more lee-way. "There is a solution to this problem that will save small farms and businesses, eliminate the 'death tax' for all Americans and still preserve the integrity of the federal budget: Tax the net worth of the very richest Americans on a regular basis during their lifetime" (Eitzen & Leedham pg. 40). The already rich continue to earn more and more money with their jobs, and they are not being taxed in proportion to their income. They have gotten away with accumulating more of the nation's wealth, while others struggle to make it in life.

"Income is important to well-being in this society because most goods and services - food, housing, clothing, medical care, legal aid, a college education - are rationed according to ability to pay, and for most people, ability to pay depends on income" (Feagin & Feagin, pg. 52). Studies that look at income distribution show that the top five percent of the nation receive almost all the money in the nation (Feagin & Feagin, pg. 52). Even taking into consideration that the poor receive food stamps and Medicaid, these benefits are offset by the in-kind and tax benefits to the rich (Feagin & Feagin, pg. 53).

There are many consequences of income inequality, which is the control and power it gives upper class people compared to those who earn less of an income. Those earning



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