The rich, the middle class and the poor. These so-called "titles" are defining Americans today. What is income inequality and why is it a problem? Income inequality is the extent to which income is distributed in a population. In the United States, that gap between the poor and the rich has expanded immensely over the past ten years. Income inequality is a constantly debated topic today with different opinions and solutions; economists, writers, and politicians all have different views. For example, Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have different opinions than Maura Pennington. As people of different social status, religion, and political preferences view inequality differently, the solution is vastly different amongst these groups. This paper will explain how Krugman, Reich, and Pennington extend, qualify, and complicate each other's claims and arguments about income inequality.
The three authors all have a specific target group in mind and each of these authors write or speak in a specific way to get these audiences to follow their views and solutions about income inequality. Paul Krugman in, "Confronting Inequality_"_ a chapter in his book _The Conscience of a Liberal,_ says that income inequality is not a problem until it becomes social inequality. His audience is more educated the common person; he writes in a very scholarly way and gives complex solutions to a complex issue. Robert Reich in the documentary film _Inequality for All,_ directed by Jacob Kornbluth, says that income inequality is a problem because the gap is getting bigger. Reich's audience is comparable to the common person because in his film he uses colorful graphs and representations to make his point clear and easy to understand. While these two people agree about inequality, Maura Pennington, a contributor for _Forbes,_ writes that when dealing with "wealth" inequality it is not a problem. Pennington's article was published in _Forbes,_ a predominately known magazine made for the rich by the rich, which makes it clear why the article is against socialism and pro-capitalism and directed at the rich; whereas Krugman and Reich are college professors. Krugman and Reich believe income inequality is a serious issue and to abolish it we need to tax the rich and encourage labor unions to raise minimum wage. In contrast, Pennington believes the only way to decrease income inequality is for the have-nots become do-somethings. The context behind these arguments is what drove each author to view income inequality differently and similarly at the same time.
Reich extends Krugman's arguments throughout the documentary by taking his argument and elaborating further_._ The main claim Krugman makes is that income inequality is only a problem when it turns into social inequality. He says, "the fact is that vast income inequality inevitably brings vast social inequality in its train" (Krugman 589). Income inequality is affecting the way people live, and not just the poor, but the middle class as well. Krugman writes about middle class families "taking on more mortgage debt" because they want their kids to be in good school districts (590). He further explains that social inequality is the way a person interacts with other people. Reich agrees with Krugman by giving examples of people from different social statuses. Each person or family he interviews all come from different incomes and prove to have a different social status because of their income differences. Reich makes a stronger argument because he uses more information and direct quotes from people to help his claim. The importance of both their arguments is that income inequality leads to social inequality and the gap between the richest and the poorest is getting bigger.
Krugman also extends Reich's arguments. Reich says in his film that the rich are funding politicians, proving the rich have a substantial influence in politics and the way our government is run. Krugman furthers...
Cited: _Inequality For All._ Dir. Jacob Kornbluth. Perf. Robert Reich. 72 Production, 2013. Documentary.
Krugman, Paul R. "Confronting Inequality." _The Conscience of a Liberal_. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 586-605. Print.
Pennington, Maura. "To Fix Income Inequality, The Have-Nots Must Become The Do-Somethings." _Forbes_. Forbes Magazine, 08 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.
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