Free «Inequality and Poverty in America» Essay Sample

In this analytical essay focus attention will be given to Holly Sklar words used in concluding her say. Sklar concludes her essay ominously by noting that "Without change in course, the course, the gulf between the rich and the rest of America will continue to widen, weakening our economy and our democracy. The American Dream will be history instead of poverty." From her piece I must admit from the outset that I'm convinced by the evidence she provides in supporting her arguments. The author has used reliable information to support her argument leaving readers with no doubt that whatever she is arguing for is of substance. The institutions she has quoted as the sources of her information are institutions whose integrity cannot be questioned.

She has talked of Forbes an institution associated with providing data about the richest people and companies not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world. Census bureau has also been mentioned in Sklars piece and we cannot doubt the figures that the author has talked about since there isn't another more credible institution that can be trusted with statistical data apart from the one mentioned. In the begging of her essay, the author has written about CIA world fact book. This is also another excellently reliable source of information which Sklar has relied upon in making her arguments. Apart from the sources, the author has highlighted facts that truly show that the rich are really getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.



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To show that the gulf between the rich and the poor is really widening, Sklar has talked about the number of members that have joined the billionaires club. She has noted that since 2000, the club has admitted 76 new members while those who joined the paupers' class increased by five million. There is nothing wrong with more people becoming billionaires but there is a big problem when more than 5 million people join the class of poor in such a short duration of time. If at all there was no growth in inequality levels, we would expect the number of billionaires to increase and at the same time those who are poor becoming economically liberated. Sklar uses this argument effectively and the evidence provided here is viable.

There is the issue of infant mortality rate of the United States being equated with that of countries whose income is just a quarter of the US. Economic development is not only about income but also includes other qualitatitive factors like the infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rates and illiteracy levels. When the United States' infant mortality rate compares with that of middle income countries like Malaysia, it means that something is totally wrong. It means that America is moving from a high income country to a middle income country and if it is not there already, then it must be headed there.

To further show how great the disparity between the rich and the poor is, Sklar has taken her time and calculated what the Forbes 400 combined are worth. She notes these 400 richest personalities are worth $1.1 trillion. This amount, she notes, is more than the Gross National product of other economic power houses like Canada and Spain. If this is the case then we would expect the number of poor people in America to be less than that of poor people in countries like Canada and Spain. This, however, is not the case. The number of poor people in the US is so enormous that it can be compared with populations living in states of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas all combined. The census bureau, according to Sklar puts the total number of those living below the poverty line below the poverty line. This is definitely unimaginable. How can it happen that 400 people are rich than countries than are considered some of the greatest economies and yet the same country has so many people who live below the poverty line.

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Sklar seems to be considered with the lavish lifestyle of billionaires while ordinary citizens find it hard to afford basic commodities. Median incomes for families have fallen tremendously since 1999. Median income has been falling for five consecutive years since 1999. In 1999 median income for the whole country was $46, 129 while in 2004 the figure fell to $44, 389. Sklar must have, been very strategic in choosing the kind of data to support her argument. The median incomles discussed here and on Sklar's piece clearly show the kind of trend that the people of America has been witnessing. Generally speaking, it is a downward trend. Anyone arguing against sklar's remarks that the American economy is headed to the woods may have to look for other supporting evidence to his thesis since all indicators (income and qualitative) are in favor of what Sklar is arguing for.

Finally, Sklar argues that actions by President Bush's administration are likely to worsen the situation. She must have argued this having in mind that the government that would follow after Bush would either carry on what Bush had started or even make the situation worse. In one way or another, Sklar was right. Recovery programs after the US was hit by hurricane Katrina, according to Siklar, served not to help the poor to companies like Bechtel owned by already rich millionaires. There is no problem with such companies even more profits but the problem comes in when they do this at the expense of the poor. There are more tax cuts for the rich who can afford helicopters $10 million while the poor continue to be taxed when they can rarely afford basic necessities like quality healthcare. How can the government tax income of the poor when such income is not even enough to purchase the basics? To make matters worse, cuts in the government spending are implemented almost with the passing of each day. It would be fair if these cuts affected the billionaires but it hurts a lot when the cuts affect the poor. What usually happens is that every time budgets are to be reduced, services such as health and sanitation which are the more important among the poor folks are affected.

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I conclude by noting that Sklar is very right in her argument and all her supporting evidence as analyzed in this paper hold water. More and more people are joining the class of the billionaires while more and even more common American citizens are becoming poorer. Qualitative indicators like infant mortality rate have shown that America compares well with middle income countries. Sklar has also noted that policies like tax cuts for the rich and budget cuts are ultimately having their toll on the poor.


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