Assignment II.  Write:  To me, the five most significant points about the essay “U.S. Income Distribution” were . . .


Millicent Compton

October 14, 2003

Online Assignment



1.  Politicians and court officials think that its  IT’Simmoral being a single mother, homosexual/lesbian, or even have an abortion, but they don’t think its IT’S wrong or immoral for these company presidents to steal millions, even billions of dollars from their companies or even the employees that work for them.  A good example of this is the scandal with Enron, Kmart, and Worldcom.  Each of these companies were ripped off by their executives, which caused them to have to layoff a great majority of their employees.  Also the employees were left with no retirement funds or stock options because of these executives stealing money for their own greed.  Now I ask is that not immoral?

2.  The survey done by the Children’s Defense Fund said that in 1988 it would have cost $26 billion to get families out of poverty and just under $54 billion to eliminate poverty all together ALTOGETHER, which was far less than giving tax breaks to the rich.  A current example of this is the war with Iraq.  President Bush wants 89 billions dollars to rebuild Iraq, but the U.S. has issues that need to be addressed such as adequate health care, unemployment, and social security.  Where will the money come from that Bush wants since jobs are scarce and people are barely taking care of their own families here in the U.S. ?  The next thing is the U.S. has a deficit of 44 or 45 trillion dollars, what about Bush taking care of getting the U.S. out of debt along with providing people with good health care before he helps rebuild OR DESTROY? other countries INSERT ?

3.  The poor have the tax burden more and more over MOREOVER the past few decades.  Basically the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  The rich net worth increases by at least 35% or more where as WHEREAS the poor decreases by 5% or more.

4.  Rich are giving to charities and non-profit organizations.  Actually the rich really don’t contribute a lot of money especially if it doesn’t benefit them.  The rich basically give to cultural institutions, private colleges, and private hospitals, which they’ll receive tax breaks for.  The rich only contribute 2.9% of their income where as the WHEREAS poor (income less than $10,000) contribute 5.5% of their income to charities or religious organizations.

5.  The rich in the U.S. helps HELP to create inequality.  Compared to other countries the U.S. has the highest percentage of rich people.

All of these points are significant to me because I am considered to be in the poorest category and I receive more of a tax burden.  This upsets me because all of these corporations and rich people are getting all of these tax breaks, which is creating an imbalance in the U.S.  It’s a shame that we are providing all of these other countries with a better way of life ALAS, WE DON’T DO THAT EITHER, WE STEAL THEM BLIND TOO, AND KILL THEM TO BOOT, while here in the U.S. things like health care and social security is ARE going to hell in a hand-basket.  Eventually things will have to change because the poor will no longer be able to handle taking care of the U.S. rich and the  POOR OF other countries..  I am unable to get good health care and by the time I’m old enough to receive social security I know I won’t be able to depend on it to live on, if it will even be in existence by the time I retire.  The rich need to quit being so money hungry along with having all these tax breaks and share the burden.


Omar Odeh

Analysis of Income Distribution


1.   I find it very shocking that the rich do not pay very much in taxes.  I figure that if you make more you would have to pay more money.  According to the article this is not true, and that the rich get off by not paying very much at all. I feel that if you are going to make a lot of money then you should be responsible for paying more taxes.  When we give these people breaks it just hurts the system.  If these people did not get so many breaks on their taxes we might actually have a surplus.  According to the article if we collected based on the progressive system these people would have to pay an additional trillion dollars over that past 10 years.  I think this money could be used to help people who are much needier.    


2. The rich people and the corporations receive $1,388 per day in subsides while the poor get only $1.14 per day in subsidies.  This is probably one of the most important points, because most think that only the poor receive help.  Everyone complains how the poor get welfare and food stamps, and all that really amount s to nothing. The rich are the ones who get the most assistance from our government.  They get that assistance from the taxes that the poor pay, which is even more shocking.  I personally don’t understand why we give the rich breaks on their income, capital gains, dividends and the list goes on.  Theses breaks that the rich receive allow them to become ever increasingly rich while everyone else suffers.


3. The rich do not give away their income to charity like many think.  They rich actually give a smaller percentage of their income then than the people who make less than $10,000 a year.  The rich are actually quite cheap when it comes to giving away their income.  This fact does not surprise me because I have many wealthy friends, and they are not very generous.  The government helps them keep so much of their income, so why would they give it away?


4. It would cost only 54 billion in 1988 to completely eliminate poverty in America.  The article makes reference to how we spent more on protecting Europe from the soviet bloc.  I am sure this number has grown by now, but so has our spending.  Our president wants 90 billion to keep solders in Iraq.  He has also spent half a trillion on a tax cut for the rich.  It amazes me that we could end poverty in our country, but instead we chose to give it to the rich. Instead of feeding poverty stricken children, the rich live in mansions and drive fancy cars.


5. The median household income was higher in 1989 then than it was in 1994.  You would expect that income would at least increase at the level of inflation.  In this particular case it actually went down.  According to one of the graphs median household income has hovered at the same amount since 1976.  Yet when looking at the graph of the rich it goes up very sharply.  Our government is really to blame for all this.  They want to keep the class system the way that it is.  They can control who pays what at the end of the year.  So over the past 25 years the government has helped keep that average household income down.  Instead of allowing us to grow as a country they choose a specific group to raise.  To me this sounds quite outrageous because we are supposed to be a model of democracy and equality.                   

Rick Hunger

II.  Write:  To me, the five most significant points about the essay “U.S. Income Distribution” were:

1.      The rich (top 1%) control a disproportional amount of money in America.  1.  Although it does not have profound impact on my personal life, I feel it should be noted that this amazingly amount of “surplus” money could benefit literally millions of underprivileged people in America.

2.      More money was spent on bailing out savings and loans than would have been required to “eliminate all poverty.”  This is staggering.  I do not mean to imply that bailing out the S&L’s was a bad idea, but if money could be found for that crisis, why is eradicating poverty not as high on the national priority list?

3.      The upper middle class and above give (by percentage) just over half what well below poverty level income households give.  Again, this is a very sad representation by people who are in a position actually make a change, and ignore the problems instead. 

4.      As illustrated in the cartoon “Big Bad World,” and also supported by the statistics about charitable contributions in the article, the extremely wealthy are quick to complain about social issues.  This is ironic when one considers that the amount of surplus wealth that many of them have amassed would go a long way toward solving some of those troubles.

5.      From the graph “Unto him that hath. . .” we see that the rich are continuing to make a greater percentage of the money, while the poor are continuing to make a lesser percentage.  Taking a look at the world around us, particularly economically underprivileged nations of the Global South, should show us that drastic differences in income between the many poor and the few rich traditionally bring hard times upon a country.  We must look for longer term solutions to the problems that effect the world today.

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