In January 27, 2013 Non-Profit Quarterly online journal article, It’s the Inequality, Stupid! “Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says: “[W]ith inequality at its highest level since before the Depression, a robust recovery will be difficult in the short term, and the American dream — a good life in exchange for hard work — is slowly dying.” The article goes on the report that our nation has done nothing to offset this disparity which has grown over the past four decades. Stiglitz suggests, “Economic inequality, leads to political inequality and a broken decision-making process.” He recommends “significant investments in education, a more progressive tax system and a tax on financial speculation.”
Political inequality and a broken decision-making process perpetuate policy favorable to those at the highest rungs. In our society, policy routinely supports big business at the expense of mainstream society and the lowest socio-economic groups. In this way current policy supports an ever growing disparity. Policy absent of the over-whelming influence of those at the highest economic rungs and inclusive of diverse voices and needs is therefore needed to stave off the ever increasing, alarming disparity. A good life in exchange for hard work shouldn’t be out of reach for anyone in a modern civil society with a world ranking of Gross Domestic Product at purchasing power parity per capita scale of between 6-9 of 180 or greater depending on which particular scale. However, with a stagnant minimum wage yielding about $15,000 in yearly income considering a 40 hour work week and a full 52 weeks worked, can we really deny Stiglitz’s assertion regarding the imminent demise of the American dream?
Written by, Michelle Sicignano, LMSW, SJS Staff Writer
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