Income Inequality In The United States

4067 words - 16 pages

America prides itself on being one of the most successful democratically governed counties. The idea of the American dream is that all citizens have equal civil liberties and a responsive government. However the effectiveness of democracy is being threatened by increasing inequality in the United States. “The dominant view holds that economic development and modernization are the key to the continued growth of democracy” (Snider and Faris 2001; United Nations, 2011). In the last decade especially the American Society has had significant moments of increasing equality. In 1960 the Civil Rights Movement changed how different races were viewed. Also in the 1960s the Women’s Right Movement push for equal rights between genders. Both of these changes allowed all citizen the same political and economical rights that are the building block of democracy. “While America has become equal regarding race, ethnicity, gender and other long standing forms of social exclusion, it has simultaneously experienced growing gaps of income and wealth” (Jacobs et al 2004). The income gaps has not just been growing between the poor and the rest of society but between the rich and the middle and working class. The middle class is now diminishing. “Disparities in wealth and income have recently grown more sharply in the United States than in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and many other advanced industrial democracies” (Jacobs et al 2004). “Putnam’s (1993, 2000) influential work, for example, suggests that a general decline in social capital in the western world could be undermining democratic institutions. Similarly, other evidence indicates that voter turnout has decreased dramatically in Western nations over the past few decades (Franklin 2004).” This essay will explore the affect income inequality is having on America’s political opinions, the citizens voting actions, social mobility and corporations involvement within the government.

Political Opinions

Public opinion plays a huge role in the development of democracy. “A society is unlikely to maintain democratic institutions over the long term, unless democracy has solid support among the public” (Andersen 2012). Most research on the issue demonstrates a positive link between economic development and support for democracy(Andersen 2012). Some researchers also consider social trust (Putnam 1993) and social tolerance (Andersen and Fetner 2008) to be a major factor of support of democracy. Most Americans see unequal economy as a result of individuals work ethics and talent rather then a flaw in the economic system. However, most Americans accept inequality because they believe everyone has the same chances in life to make the best. A properly running government is supposed to make positive that all the citizen are equal. By believing in equal democratic rights Americans support everyone citizen having the same level of equality and the same equal voice in representative government. Since citizens don’t...

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