Income Inequality in America

While people say that money doesn't bring you happiness, being poor definitely makes you lonely and miserable. 83% of all upper middle class people age 30-49 are married in 2010. 48% of all working class people age 30-49 are married in 2010.

This Wall Street Journal talks about the income inequality in America. Coming from a Chinese immigrant family and growing up in Brooklyn and went to a small private college in Boston for undergrad, I can see the distinct difference in culture due to the "Great Divide."

Anyone else experienced this difference in school or on their jobs?

I'm posting this on WSO because I'm feeling the pressure on the other side of the interview table trying to small-talk my anticipated experiences in fly-fishing.…

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Comments (9)

Jan 21, 2012 - 1:32am

Income inequality in the USA is a non issue. If you don't earn and save you make your own bed.

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Jan 21, 2012 - 10:15am
Income inequality in the USA is a non issue. If you don't earn and save you make your own bed.

How would you recommend one "earn"?

I agree that income inequality is a non issue, if you have money.

You work a job, maybe two. You raise your kid. Live as simple as possible and send that kid to school. They get a better job and the cycle continues. The only way to create wealth is to save more than you spend.

It changes from person to person, but the thing I do know is you cannot simply transfer it from one person to another.

Income inequality is a side effect of the capitalism system. I frankly think it is a good thing and this isn't coming from a Rockefella. I grew up modestly and worked hard to get where I am. The only thing that put me where I am today is a college education and hard work.

And before people chime in with the crap about college costs being too high, you can live at home and commute or go to a decent state school and work part time, coming out of UG with minimal debt. Just need to be responsible. As much as it sucks, at the end of the day you need to be responsible for decisions we all make individually.

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Best Response
Jan 21, 2012 - 1:48am

The thing that doesn't get brought up a lot of times is that America has changed a whole heck of a lot from 1960. It is much more diverse in many different ways, and minorities of every race are outnumbering white people in America (or soon will be). A lot of immigrants are poorer than middle-upper class white folks. Additionally, the pressure from other countries that was never present in the 60s and 70s to compete for jobs has grown stiff. The average American cannot expect to work in a factory anymore..... they need real skills, whether they be soft or hard. People need to wake up to the fact that we won't ever need steel workers anymore. We need engineers, computer scientists, economists, mathematicians, etc. etc.

Just this past week I was in my local supermarket and overheard a conversation between two of the workers how her husband can't find any work in steel anymore. That's the way it's going to be. Americans are going to have to adapt or die. The upper class is largely insulated from this through A) controlling the capital B) having large equity stakes in many companies and C) having better education. Only 1/4 of this country has a college degree, which seems insane to me, but everyone on this site is in a totally different world than the "average American." The average American went to high school, probably did not graduate college, maybe went to community college, works down at the local supermarket or gas station, and enjoys going to the local bar for a few beers and to pick up the girls. Nothing wrong with that, but people need to realize we are a global society with 1.5 BILLION people in China who would love to have our standard of living.

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Jan 21, 2012 - 11:26am

A lot of people also don't realize that cost of living is wildly different throughout the country. For example, in most parts of Kansas and Missouri, including in the large suburban areas replete with jobs, you can buy a downright decent house for $75,000 to $150,000. In Kansas City, for example, if your household income is $50,000 per year you are doing just fine. In fact, you can afford a far nicer home than the guy in Washington, D.C. pulling in $125,000.

Income inequality is really comparing apples to oranges. One has to look to standard of living, cost of living and quality of life. Even the so-called poor in America have smartphones, microwaves, big screen TVs, cable, computers, internet, etc. Only the poorest of the poor--in places like eastern Kentucky and Appalachia--are there truly "the poor."


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Jan 21, 2012 - 12:19pm

Income inequality is fine, even preferable, provided there is income mobility. While the US does lag in that regard, I can't help but point to the government for instilling a sense of helplessness. A lot of these safety nets have become a permanent crutch for a large portion of the population. It teaches people just to accept their handout, rather than work their way up.

I realize just saying "bootstraps" is insensitive to the many forces that keep the poor poor, whether it is a knowledge deficit or poor decisions. But the resources do exist to pull yourself into the middle class (at least); it comes down to the individual to access them. I would rather live in a society where you have the chance to truly excel, as opposed to being guaranteed a mediocre existence.

Jan 21, 2012 - 8:12pm

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