Is Inequality in America Increasing?

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A frightening and familiar contrast continues in the United States as the concepts of a free democracy are thrust upon the working and middle class and we are constantly convinced by our representatives that our society grows closer to equality and a better life for all citizens. At the same time, those without capital and control have limited access to the government which represents them, prices are rising, the working and middle class are working longer hours, in deeper debt, saving less, and cannot afford necessary healthcare. While policy makers convince us that things are only getting better, the reality on the ground (in the factories and ghettos) offers a strikingly different prediction.

The concept that our American democratic society offers the quintessential model for equal treatment is often repeated without consideration in the classrooms of public schools and from the highest levels of government. “The laws of this nation the good heart of this nation are on the side of equality,” President George W. Bush noted, marking the anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (STEVENSON 1). Yet, a brief glance at the varied statistics of wealth and power in this country bring light to the serious flaws in the President’s statement. It isn’t the laws or heart of the country that the working and middle classes need fear. The system of power and control, and the truer symbol of the American reality, can be found in the widening disparity in the distribution of wealth and income which continues to separate the haves from the have-nots in America.

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According to a CNN report, in 2007 “the income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans grew to its widest level since the 1920s,” while at the same time, “the bottom half of working Americans...
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