13 April 2015
Essay #1: How to Improve Economic Disparity
We are one of the wealthiest nations in the world and yet we are still fighting to end poverty. How can this be? According to John Sutter, a columnist for CNN Opinion and creator of CNN’s Change the List project, he argues in his article The Argument for a Basic Income that “Child poverty costs the United States $500 billion per year…That includes lost earnings as well as health care and the cost of crime” (Sutter). Society is immoral when it comes to sharing money. We hold strong beliefs that each dollar we make is well earned. However, as learned in a video in my Economics class, there is a large gap between the rich and the poor regarding the amount of income an individual receives. Sutter’s normative approach explains how we can improve equality and reduce the gap between the rich and poor in order to abolish poverty directly.
The video from week 3 showed that the top 1% of the American population has 40% of the nation’s wealth (Week 3 Discussion). This means there is only 60% of the nation’s wealth left for the remaining 99% of the population. When looking at the Gini coefficient, “a measure of the degree of inequality in a distribution” (Principles 372) the U.S. measured at 0.42 in 2013, where 0 means perfect equality and 1 indicates perfect inequality (Gini). Compared to other countries, the U.S. does not do as much to bring economic equality to the nation. To overcome this disparity, Sutter suggests that income inequality can be drastically improved with a basic income. “Give everyone cash, just for existing. The goal, according to proponents of such a policy, is to alleviate, if not eliminate, the scourge of poverty. And, more importantly, to reduce the social ills -- poor health, poor educational attainment, poor job prospects and higher odds of ending up in jail -- associated with kids who grow up poor” (Sutter). This strategy is very interesting in...