American society has become increasingly stratified. Government policies and regulations are exacerbating the problem. The latter is very complex and beyond the scope of today’s post, but change is warranted for our democracy. Today, I’m going to examine the social stratification and inequality in current day America.
The following information is from http://www.sparknotes.com, Social Stratification and Inequality.
UPPER CLASS – consists of the top one percent of Americans. These are the people of old money. People who have inherited their wealth and have no need to work.
NEW MONEY – represents fifteen percent of Americans who have made their fortunes and have no day-to-day financial concerns. They may or may not work.
MIDDLE CLASS – includes thirty-four percent of Americans. This is the professional class made up of doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers, and managers, for example.
The above group represents the top 50 percent of Americans. One commonalty among these groups is that most have a college education.
WORKING CLASS – consists of thirty percent of Americans. This group includes the skilled trades, truck and bus drivers, factory workers, police and first responders among others. Some may have a college education or vocational training.
WORKING POOR – includes twenty percent of Americans. This group usually has a low-level of education and low skill levels. They most often earn minimum wage with no health insurance or pension benefits. Their jobs are easily outsourced to cheaper foreigner workers.
The working poor need opportunities for education and training, and to earn a living wage while attending classes. The working class must be fairly compensated for the essential jobs they fill. Touting a low unemployment rate when full-time workers are considered poor is not a true accomplishment deserving of bragging. All workers must be valued and not used! The author of this article writes, “Every economy needs a group of workers that it can hire during an economic upswing and lay off when the economy weakens, the members of the working poor are such people, they are the last hired, and first fired.”
One of the main reasons some people have a low-level education or low-level skills is the inequality of public education. Public education is one of the founding tenets of our democracy. A successful democracy requires an educated electorate. Why are some not receiving a quality education? It is actually very simple. Since school budgets are based on real estate taxes, poorer areas have less funding for education. Books, facilities, equipment, technology and staff require adequate funding to produce quality educations. Federal funding must be used to provide poorer areas with quality schools.
The top fifty percent have devalued the working class and the working poor, even though they depend on the services they provide. That is disgraceful and must be remedied. America is not working for half of Americans! All workers need to be valued!