The Growing Income Gap between the Rich and Poor
In the United States the income gap between the rich and the poor is at an all time high. This fact is very strange to me because I hear President Bush claim that there are so many new jobs available, the unemployment rate is down, interest rates are low, and inflation is going down. These two claims seem contradictory to me, and in my paper I will hope to find out why the income gap is so high when President Bush claims the economy is doing so well. First I will try to explore why the income gap is so high when there are so many jobs available for those who are unemployed.
According to David Leonhardt a writer for the New York Times, the problem is that the jobs available for the poor are not paying them enough money to stay alive. David's article was called Out of a Job and No Longer Looking, in this article he says that the poor people are "unwilling to take new jobs that pay for less, so a rising and growing number of them instead depend on a government check to get by". We can clearly see if they are just getting money from the government to get by, this would be an immediate cause for a fluctuation in the income gap. According to David the number of poor people that are not looking for a job, and waiting for a welfare check is rising.
David Leonhardt also states that "millions of people, particularly men, have dropped out of the labor force over the last decade, apparently unable to find work that pays near what they once earned in the blue-collar jobs that have moved to lower wage countries". A number of companies are moving to countries where they can get cheap labor, and this is leaving a number of people without jobs. The sad part is when these companies break up there are only a few supervisors, and CEO's that are out of work, but there are a number of blue collar workers that are out of jobs. The supervisors and CEO's tend to find another job faster than the regular workers because there is less competition in their field, because when they are applying for a job there are fewer candidates. On the other hand there are a number of blue collar workers available, and companies exploit this to their advantage and try to pay the workers the least amount possible. Today the real level of unemployment for men is higher than in the recession of the early 80's. The worst part is that men from the ages of 18-29 spent 11 percent of the year not working.
Katherine Newman an author in the Harvard Magazines says "given the illegal economic opportunities (mainly drugs) and welfare, coupled with the low wages and seemingly unpleasant working conditions in the legal sector, why would anyone work in a Burger Barn". Newman believes that the problem is not that there aren't any jobs available for the poor; the issue is the conditions of these jobs. With all the other things poor people can do to make money, they just don't want to work in a blue collar job. According to Newman the new hot job market doesn't mean inner-city residents are finding it easy to get a job. It is the skilled and educated people of the suburbs that are finding jobs easy. It is generally the people that are already well off and have certain skills to do a job who move on to a better job for a better salary. According to Katherine the rich people are moving on to better jobs to make them even richer. The unskilled poor people are giving up because they don't like the jobs that are available to them. The poor people much prefer to depend on welfare or doing illegal activities than to work at a fast food restaurant. Welfare can only do so much for a family, if the poor people continue to depend on welfare they will never be able to get ahead and move up in the economy. Newman also mentions that the poor people of the ghettos are starting to give up looking for a job, because they feel there is nothing is available. In the ghettos most of the businesses are turning to illegal immigrants to get the job...
Cited: 2. Leonhardt, David. "Out of a Job and No Longer Looking." New York Times 29 Sept. 2002.
6. "Grounded by an Income Gap: Inequality Just Keeps Growing in the U.S.." The Nation 5 Aug. 2002.
7. Newman, Katherine. "Working Poor." Harvard Magazine 29 Oct. 1999.
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