Slavery has been ruling American society since its inception. For 300 years, over ten million African Americans forced into brutal labor from birth till death. Manual slavery ended over 150 years ago; however a form of modern slavery has become ever more evident in today’s society. Common people work hard for the entirety of their life, and still struggle to make ends meet. The wealthy keep getting wealthier and the poor stay poor. Economic inequality has created a modern slavery, and many people are suffering because of this. Income inequality (the gap between rich and poor) has been widening dramatically since 1980. The wealthy are reaping benefits, and the poor are struggling just to get by. Income inequality has become so severe in the U.S. that having simple necessities has become nearly impossible for many to attain. On the other hand, there are Americans that have too much money to know what to do with. Income inequality shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and that is the way those at the top want it, creating this problem. The government (which is controlled by wealthy companies) claims they help the poor but that is false. By way of taxing, they put in place welfare programs such as food stamps and section eight housing. However, if one would look deeper into the tax system, the only people being helped are the wealthy.As Heather Long of CNN money explains, “The U.S. tax system is supposed to help the poor. Yet even after-tax income shows that the bottom 50% averaged just $25,000 a person in 2014, according to the latest data. That’s just a touch above the $20,000 someone in the bottom half earned way back in 1974 (after adjusting for inflation).” Taxation has fed into the system, where only the rich can prosper. Treating the poor like they are ignorant (much like the masters did with the slaves), they claim they are helping. Unfortunately the government is doing far from helping the poor.
America prides itself on not only being the land of the free, but also the land of equal opportunity. A place where anybody can come to be a success. America is intended to be a place where children are almost guaranteed more wealth than their parents. Unfortunately since 1980, children aren’t becoming more successful than their parents. GDP, corporate profit, and the top 1% growth has been rising significantly (all eclipsing over 100 percent growth). However, the median household income has only risen 16% (with inflation that is almost no growth). Edwin Rios explains, “Despite such overdue gains, average American households are barely making more than they did in 1980. Median household incomes have risen just 17 percent (in real dollars) during the past 35 years.” The system is designed for the rich to succeed, and the non-rich are not a concern for the government.
The inflation rates (and in turn the groups that succeed) are largely determined by policies created by the government. This is due to the government being run by wealthy individuals and corporate entities. The average salary of a congressman is $174,000, and the average American salary is roughly $51,000. Many of these congressmen are given bonuses by corporations for them to vote on amendments that will help the company. For example, New Jersey senator Corey Booker has been given $385,000 since 2011 by big pharmaceutical companies. Just recently the senator has voted against an amendment that would allow Americans to purchase cheaper medicine from Canada. Booker is not the only congressmen doing this. Most of the congressmen and women (both Republicans and Democrats) are being paid by giant corporations. This is why we see the wealthy getting wealthier but nobody else. Even as they are getting wealthier, the government still takes money from the non- wealthy; but claims they are helping.
Pharmaceutical ownership of politicians has created an inequality of basic needs among American citizens. Economic inequality does not only distinguish whether an individual drives a new BMW or a Honda sedan. It also decides what type of health care one can afford. Many can afford the basic survival health care; however, those in poverty can not. This inability to receive basic health care access creates problems that shouldn’t be existent in the land of the free. Much like the slaves 150 years ago, the economic inequality is not a matter of working hard, the dedication is there. Not having basic healthcare for all has caused a life expectancy change between the wealthy and poor. As Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times reports, “For men born in 1950, that difference had more than doubled, to 14 years.” As medical advancements are made, only the rich get to enjoy the benefits. This is not what a true land of equal opportunity would do.
A large number of the upper class are made up of CEOs who dictate their own salaries. Salaries of most professions are market driven, which means exactly what it says, that the market determines the salaries. CEOs of the super companies get to raise their own income whenever they please, creating extremely high salaries. Unlike the CEOs most Americans have to wait on the the slow moving market to change their salaries. Markets take awhile to increase salaries, which is why this creates this economic inequality. The CEOs raise their salaries significantly, but the average worker’s salary raises at a slow rate.
The wealthy are given numerous opportunities to succeed, while the poor get stuck in a rut. For example, college is a place where many get to start their success in whatever they choose. Wealthy students can become successful, as the high tuition rates are not a burden for them. However, the poor cannot afford to go to college. Due to this dilemma, (more often than not), those in the low income bracket end up in their parent’s profession. The makes it difficult for children to surpass their parents wealth, which used to be a staple of America.So as the rich can keep on increasing their salary, the poor have to keep the same salary, hence inequality of the income growth.
Income inequality in America has created a problem of not only lavish things, a problem of life necessities. Many Americans can’t even afford necessary health care. As the government and its rulers are getting richer, the average American is getting poorer. Many Americans are living in more dangerous environments, exposed to deadly situations, and can only afford unhealthy food and drink options. An example is Flint, Michigan. Flint residents can’t even get clean water, while many Americans, including politicians, have money they have no idea what to do with. A communist society is definitely not the way to go; however, for America to claim it is the land of equal opportunity is a far stretch. For this claim to come true, America has to fix many issues; sadly, it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen anytime soon.
LongD, Heather, and “. “U.S. Inequality Keeps Getting Uglier.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, 22 Dec. 2016.
Edwin_D_Rios. “These 11 Charts on Income Inequality Will Make Your Head Explode.” Mother Jones. N.p.,
Tavernise, Sabrina. “Disparity in Life Spans of the Rich and the Poor Is Growing.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Feb. 2016.
Politifact, and The Other 98 Activist Group. “Meme on Democratic Senators and ‘big Pharma’ Is Misleading.” @politifact. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.