Confronting Inequality Response
Paul Krugman in “Confronting Inequality” tries to explain how bad inequality is and the things that can bring inequality up or down. He gives reasons of why he and Americans should care about the rising inequality. Krugman says, “One reason to care about inequality is the straight forward matter of living standards. The lack of clear economic progress for lower and middle income families is in itself an important reason to seek a more equal distribution of income” (322).
Krugman also uses many quotes from people who have had a big impact on America to help argue his point about inequality. Quote that stuck out on its own was the one Thomas Jefferson said, “The small landowners are the most precious part of a state” (323). This quote is stating that middle class is very important to a state. “High Inequality…Nation much weakened middle class, has a corrosive effect on social relations and politics…America has moved deeper into a new Gilded Age” (323).
Krugman says, “One of the best arguments I’ve ever seen for the social costs of inequality came from a movement conservative trying to argue the opposite” (323). He then quotes the conservative Kristol “We shouldn’t worry about income inequality, because whatever the numbers say, class distinctions are, in reality, all but gone” (323). Although he doesn’t agree with this quote he uses it to better show the controversy between your average liberals and conservatives in America on the rising inequality issue.
Krugman made a table about the Percentage of 1988 Eighth Graders Finishing College to show that most children who make higher scores tend to have higher class parents. He also states that “Students who scored bottom fourth…We call rich dumb kids…Who were more likely to finish college…Then students who scored top fourth couldn’t afford college” (327). Even though most families move around trying to send their kids to good schools so they can get a better education in hopes they will continue on to college. This just says that no matter how good or bad your parents are doesn’t always determine on how the child will be in their futures.
Krugman does argue a great point that inequality is nearly sky rocketing in today’s society and it’s not good. Feeling that inequality should decrease more than increase to make America what people call the free country. Its sad going around hearing and seeing all the unequal people lining up for help just to get turned down. No one would want to ever have to go through life knowing they are seriously unequal to everyone else.
On another note having to disagree with eliminating inequality completely would tear this country apart with nothing but anger and war toward each other. No one wants to work hard to get to where they are just to see someone else not have to do anything to be at the same place. Hard working people won’t want to work hard if their neighbor is making just as much with the same job doing less. Working all day and getting the same as a bum on the street would not only anger someone it would infuriate them which, can lead to violence.
The last thing America needs is a war to bring back inequality when it fought so hard for equality. That is why it’s believed people should care about this ongoing issue but, not to overdo it like Krugman. Some people know what is really right for this country but Krugman has no idea since we are at another point in time.
Krugman presents numbers some being more relevant than others. Like when he talks about the hedge fund loopholes and mentions Americans lose $6 billion annually through the oversight. Krugman then correlates that with the ability to provide healthcare to 3 million children. This is only on loop hole out of many others, just imagine how much money could be squeezed out of the rich. I can honestly say they can’t squeeze anymore out of the middle class.
Krugman doesn’t really consider people taking action into their own hands. He is what I like to call a theorists that thinks maybe if we get the right legislation and get the ball rolling politically we can solve these problems. My generation especially, realizes this will never work and elected officials are not going to change anything. I believe things are very unbalanced and some people are doing a very good job of keeping it that way. When the government loses control of leveling the playing field, just like in the past, the people are going to have to step up.
Krugman, Paul. “Confronting Inequality” They Say, I Say with Readings. 2nd Edition.Gerald Graff, et. al. New York: Norton, 2009 322-341. Print.