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We Have No Class (Middle Class) Essay

In Paul Krugman’s Confronting Inequality, we are told, as citizens of the United States, the damages of high and rising inequality within our country. Krugman describes America as a place of unclear economic progress for the middle class while the share of economic growth in the past 3 decades has gone to the wealthy 1%. Krugman next describes the impact such inequality has on our society and republic. First starting with social inequality, he states “The fact is the vast income inequality inevitably brings vast social inequality inevitably brings vast social inequality in its train” (589). What Krugman is trying to convey is that as the gap between classes grows, it brings with it greater and greater inequality. Within this social system, the author tells us of how desirable school districts are decreasing in number and are becoming much more expensive to live in, making it so that children with low-income parents get a “bad start” in their education. Krugman also states that corrupt politics are a direct result of the difference between the 1% and rest of the country. Using that point as fuel he argues for the removal of tax cuts for the wealthy.

Krugman shows us that the Urban-Brookings Joint Tax Policy Center estimated that if Bush tax breaks expired in 2010 for those who have an income of over $200,000 then the money gained from taxes could fund a universal healthcare system for the entire nation. Krugman’s main solution was to generally close obvious loopholes within the American system. The next problem, Market Inequality, is also brought to inquisition. Krugman says that a raise in minimum wage as well as a steady union movement would assist the wage inequality. Finally, Krugman discusses how accessible these changes are and how rapidly they can happen. He feels as though the changes can be easily reached, but not likely. Richard Wilkinson, a social researcher, discussed in his 2011 “TED talk” the correlation seen between social issues and the distance in between economic classes. A logical connection can be made to Krugman’s paper on the same topic; however beyond the obvious similarity of a similar topic, they seem to agree that America is in sore shape. With Wilkinson’s emphasis on a lack of social mobility he asks if the most important thing for a child is their father’s income. “Do rich fathers have rich sons and poor fathers have poor sons, or is there no relationship between the two?


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