Sklar and the Economist: Inequality in America Essay

Sklar and the Economist: Inequality in America Essay

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America was once known as the land of opportunity. However, that is no longer the case. Americans are still suffering from a depression that began three years ago in 2008. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007, the United States unemployment rates were 4.6 percent. In 2009, one year after the depression began, the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. Millions of Americans are living in poverty, unable to afford the basic necessities. On the other hand, there is a minuscule percent of the population that are billionaires. Written in 2005, Holly Sklar’s essay “The Growing Gulf Between the Rich and the Rest of Us” argues that if something isn’t done about the growing inequality between the rich and the poor, the American economy as a whole will weaken. A year later, the Economist published the article, “Inequality and the American Dream” implies that the American dream is broken. Sklar’s argument sheds light on the Economist’s argument. In particular, Sklar’s use of facts regarding the wealthiest Americans, the poorest Americans, and the discussion of the impact of inequality on society provide insight into the Economist’s article.
Sklar provides vivid illustrations of the astronomical wealth of America’s richest class. Sklar opens her article with the following fact from the CIA World Factbook, “‘Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20 percent of households’” (308). This is a disturbing fact especially for a country that prides itself on equality. A truly equal society would reflect nationwide prosperity throughout all levels. Next, Sklar writes about the Forbes 400, the wealthiest people in America. Sklar states that the minimum net worth to get on the list is $...

... middle of paper ...

... Americans to slip under the poverty lines.
Both Sklar and the Economist offer suggestions to improve the inequality in America, but unfortunately the inequality continues to grow. Sklar’s use of detailed facts about the richest Americans, the poorest Americans and her discussion of the impact on society add clarity to the Economist’s argument that the American dream is broken due to the inequality in America. Until the American government starts to make changes, the problem of inequality will continue to grow.

Works Cited
The Economist. “Inequality and the American Dream”. They Say I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print.
Sklar, Holly. “The Growing Gulf Between the Rich and the Rest of Us”. They Say I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2009. Print.

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