Income Inequality in the United States

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Still to date, the problem of income inequality is an issue of a great importance for million of African-Americans and others who struggle to improve their quality of life. It must be known by now, that economic injustice has had a devastating impact on black communities all across America. Issues such as inequality and racial discrimination in education, the social environment, and economics have gone on for too long, and it has been engraved in the American society as a way of life, a norm, and permanently engraved in our mind, which implies that hope for a better change in the way of our lives ,was and still is given up. Income inequality has many implications on all of us: poverty, homicide and violence rate, drug use, education opportunities, to obesity. Reflecting on the effects of income inequality, it is critical to know the magnitude of this issue. When I started reading about this topic, I realized how little I knew about the history of American income inequality. I knew that significant inequalities exist today but I didn’t have a solid idea about how society became the way it is today, yet there was a very interesting story behind it. Chronologically, this issue arose in 1915, when a statistician named Willford King published The wealth and Income of the People of the Unites States, where he believed “that the richest one percent of Americans is in control of about 15 percent of the nation’s income. After dropping a bit in the late 1920's, income inequality reached it peak in 1929, just before the stock market crashed. This was a horrible time to be a poor person and a great time to be a rich person.”(King) From the 1940's to the 1960's, America had gotten back on rails and overcame the great depression. Afterwards, the economy of the country was going through a period of stabilization, leaving the gap between the rich and poor class tightened up, leading to more of an economic equality, which made America at that time a beautiful place to live in. However, starting in the 1970's, income inequality started rising back up. Following those events the great Divergence raged on; except for a brief period of the late 1990's, income inequality grew heavily. Despite periods of significant economic growth from the 1980's to the 2000's, more than 80 percent of the income growth was absorbed by the richest one percent of Americans, who today account for more than 30 percent of the nation's income. Meanwhile, the richest 0.1 percent of Americans, the really rich ones, have an income quadruple that of the 1 percent.(Barach) Actually, the story is very sad, as it has decided the fate of millions of Americans. An accurate definition of this social issue is important to help us acquire a deeper understanding of the implication of this problem. According to Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr, who is an African American civil rights leader. He was an assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who inspired him to work in the civil rights movement. Dr. Chavis rose to international prominence as the leader of the Wilmington Ten. A former Vice President of the National Council of Churches, Dr. Chavis became the Executive Director of the NAACP: ...It is the measurement of the distribution of income that highlights the gap between individuals or households making the most of income in a given country and those making the least for a period of time . . . when you add race as a distinguish characteristic, the widening gap of income inequality between blacks and whites in the US exposes the lingering impact of years of targeted discrimination and economic injustice imposed in the vast majority of black Americans. Income inequality is the extent of disparity between high income and low income households. (Chavis) Within the same Article, Dr. Chavis introduces a study called “The Gini Coefficient,” which represents a measurement of income inequality, and which theoretically calculates the...
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