The Rampant Unequal Opportunity in America

In the United States we like to think that everyone starts their life with the same opportunities as everyone else but then has to work hard in order to move up in the world I agree that everyone has to work hard in order to move up in the world however, I do not believe everyone starts his or her life with equal opportunity. People who grow up in a lowincome area are not given the same benefits and resources as children of the wealthy or even of the middle class.

Our country is trying to fix its huge gap between the rich and the poor, and one way to start helping the disadvantaged is by investing in the young. Galbraith explains in his essay that we need to concentrate on insular poverty, which is a community where “everyone or nearly everyone is poor”. He also believes that “the most important characteristic of insular poverty is forces, common to all members of the community, that restrain or prevent participation in economic life at going rates of return”.

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One of the restraints he talks about is the poor’s educational facilities. Galbraith puts emphasis on the fact that we need to invest in the education and well»being of the children of these poor families in order to prevent them from being like their parents: If the children of poor families have first-rate schools and school attendance is properly enforced, if the children though badly fed at home, are well nourished at school; if the community has sound health services, and the physical well-being of the children is vigilantly watched; if there is opportunity for advanced education for those who qualify regardless of means…then there is a chance that the children of the very poor will come to maturity without inhibiting disadvantage.

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The children are at an obvious disadvantage growing up if they are going to schools that don’t enforce attendance, have less than adequate instruction, and on top of that are not getting the general care they need at home. If they are given these benefits, then they have the choice, or at least an equal opportunity, to overcome the restraints and to live a comfortable life. Reich observes that many jobs that lower income workers do are being replaced by outsourcing to other countries and by technology According to Reich, in 1990, keypunch operators in the United States were earning $6.50 an hour but, “ as more satellites and fiber-optic cables become available (reducing communication costs still further), routine data processors in the United States find themselves in ever more direct competition with their counterparts abroad”.

His point is that people who are poorly educated are only capable of getting relatively unskilled jobs with lower wages, which puts them at jeopardy because people in other countries such as India, or new technology, can do just the same job as these people. Reich states, “The lesson is clear, if you drop out of high school or have no more than a high school diploma, do not expect a good routine production job to be awaiting you”. Technology has been radically advancing the idea that it can replace almost all factory workers and farming jobs, which originally needed very little education. In order to get a good job in the United States anymore, you must have reached a certain level of education that can provide you with a job that isn’t being replaced by technology or being outsourced. After looking at both Reich’s and Galbraith’s essay’s, it is clear that children in low income areas are growing up just like their parents and entering into a never ending cycle.

Children are only allowed to go to their local schools, which, if it’s is in a depressed neighborhood, is probably a school with little funding and lousy resources. Poor school resources can easily lead to teachers and children becoming unmotivated and under educated. That situation can lead to a higher drop out rate, and if they don’t drop out, how do they see a path going to college? Their parents can‘t help them by example or knowledge on how to get into college and the schools aren’t preparing them for college nor helping them get into a college. They and their fellow classmates are then entering into the workforce with the same skills and preparation that their parents and others in their community have, The jobs they can get are low paying and, according to Reich, are susceptible to being replaced by cheaper production These people who are being paid very little then have kids who go through the very same cycle.

Children who are growing up in low-income areas are being left in this cycle where they end up like their parents, being unemployed or making a low income and also not having the ability to give their own children the kind of education and general care that they didn’t get. In order to allow all children to grow up and have the freedom to decide what they want to do when they are older, to allow them to exit the cycle, we must invest in their education at a young age. Children need the option to escape the constraints that are imposed upon them by their low- income areas they live in. By investing in their education, getting them betterjobs, and escaping their “island” of poverty, society helps not only them but also their children and future generations. Ensuring that all children receive the education and care that they need to thrive in our economy can help reduce the gap between the rich and the poor by giving the poor the same resources and benefits that the rich have been receiving and will allow all children an equal opportunity through a strong education,

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The Rampant Unequal Opportunity in America. (2022, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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