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Monday Program – Week in Review #8

The United States is known for being the land of opportunity. A place where any person can go to and make something of themselves no matter what background or culture they may come from. Sadly, the statistics regarding the tremendous economic inequality within the US continue to increase, as calculations show that nearly 40% of Americans are currently living at or under the poverty line. A recent study done by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development department stated that “21% of our nation’s children (about 15 million) are in poverty. Only a minimal amount of further research is needed to find out this is the highest rate of child poverty among all developed nations.” Yet, while the poverty numbers continue to grow, so do the pockets of the wealthy citizens of the United States. The Federal Reserve calculated that “a $21 trillion increase in wealth for the top 1% of USA residents from 1989 to 2018. During that same time period, the overall wealth of the bottom 50 percent of our citizens dropped by $900 billion.” Statistics done by the University of California-Berkeley opened many eyes, as researchers found that “1% of the wealthiest Americans own about 20% of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 90% of our citizens own about the same amount (25%)”. Statistics such as these would be less troubling if the United States wasn’t experiencing some of the highest poverty rates in the country’s history, but the drastically growing gap between the rich and the poor is heavily dividing the nation.

Stanford has a center dedicated to the topic of inequality and poverty in the United States whom recently reported that  “in 1965 CEOs of major corporations made 24 times more than the average worker. As recently as 2010, CEOs were collecting 185 times the average worker’s salary.” Let it be known that the problem in the United States is not that Americans are becoming more and more entrepreneurial. Some business people are doing exceedingly well for themselves due to incredibly powerful business ideas that they’ve come up with and executed. These ideas should not be looked down upon or belittled, as thinking differently to create positive change is an essence of the United States’ free society. But, it is without a doubt that in the United States the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” has grown far too wide, and it is up to the decisions of those in power in America to lessen the clear inequality divide within the country. 

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