The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Increasing gap between rich and poor already too big

The differences and gaps between the people in the United States are overwhelming. There are differences in religious beliefs, political point of views and, of course, economics, to name a few. Most of these differences don’t affect individuals on a daily basis, but the economic gap between rich and poor is disturbing.

According to the Wallstreet Journal, the top 1 percent of U.S. families held 33.4 percent of the nation’s net worth in 2004. After the richest 1 percent, the next wealthiest 9 percent of families held 31.6 percent of the net worth in that same year. Below them, the families in the top 50 to 90 percent held 27.9 percent of net worth in 2004 while families on the bottom half saw their share fall .3 percent.

The rich keep getting richer as the poor keep getting poorer. While that statement may sound clich? in its essence, the repercussions of its fact are not clich? at all. The small amount of people who already have more money than a majority of the nation get things like tax breaks whereas the people who truly need help are turned away. Instead of the government concentrating effort that is needed toward the people who need it, they tend to disregard people unless it’s for some sort of political gain.

Marxist and novelist John Berger said, “The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”

Today, people in poverty are looked down upon instead of helped. There is a negative feeling attached to someone in poverty, that they may not being doing enough to help themselves get out of the situation they are in. How mant times have you just seen people walk right by a homeless person on the street? However, the discontinuity of money in theory and money in practice prove that it is difficult to change ones circumstances without a lot of extra help.

Philip Slater, sociologist and writer, acknowledges the discrepancy yet cannot reason why this is the case. He says that if household labor, performed by both men and women in the U.S., were given proper monetary compensation, it would equal the entire amount paid in wages and salaries by all the corporations in the United States.

Salaries aren’t equal, and there isn’t very much an individual can do to change that. While there may not seem to be a bright side, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 74 percent of Americans have incomes above the poverty line. That doesn’t mean they necessarily have a good lifestyle, it just means they’re above the poverty line. That also means that 26 percent of Americans live below the poverty line, which isn’t bright at all.

While the United States is known for helping people in other countries who need help, there needs to be some sort of aide given domestically in addition to what’s already in place. Yes, the United States offers welfare programs to those who need help. Yes, the United States gives financial aid to students who can’t afford to pay to go to college. Yes, the United States shows some compassion towards helping those domestically who need it. But that obviously isn’t enough if you look at the gap between the rich and the poor.

There is a Cree Indian Proverb which states, “Only when the last tree is cut; only when the last river is polluted; only when the last fish is caught; only then will they realize that you cannot eat money.”

We need to pull together as a country to help those in need. Financially, if the government won’t close the gap, than individuals need to offer help. In the end, all the money in the world won’t be able to help and it will be up to us as a nation to come together and support each other. We are physically capable of coming together in times of crisis, but it shouldn’t take a national catastrophe to get us to help each other. We’re all Americans and in the end that should be enough.

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