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America's Wealth Gap Essay

651 words - 3 pages

One major issue in the United States today is the increasing wealth gap between the rich and the poor. This is defined as the unequal distribution of financial assets among a population, such as property, valuable possessions, stock, savings, and investments. It has been growing significantly since the 1970s due to a decline in economic growth and is currently at its widest point since the Great Depression (Lubin). In fact, “the top 400 richest Americans now have the same wealth as the bottom 150 million Americans put together” (Williams). This is an exponentially growing problem for the country, as more and more people are struggling to support themselves and their families.
In the 1970s, a major economic crisis was beginning to develop in the United States after a period of much prosperity post-World War II. One significant reason for this was the Arab Oil Embargo, which prohibited any supporters of Israel, such as the US, from obtaining oil from Egypt and Syria. As a result, many companies filed for bankruptcy, public unrest broke out, there was a decline in production of goods, and many people filed for unemployment (Trumbore). Therefore, the lower and middle classes were losing much wealth, while the upper class remained stable. Another example of an event during the 1970s which caused the economy to plummet was the Vietnam War. As the war continued, many people were charged heavy taxes that were often difficult for them to pay and were losing income, as well as a large increase in inflation. Furthermore, the income of the lowest 20 percent income class declined substantially, while before 1967, income distribution among classes had been very stable (Nafatlin). As a result, research by the Congressional Budget Office showed that income grew by 275% for the top 1% of households, while only 18% for the bottom 20 percent, which established the large wealth gap (Congressional).
During the 1980s, the wealth gap became...

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