Are the Rich Cleaning Up?

The inspiration used for this paper was obtained from: “Are the Rich Cleaning Up?” Fortune Magazine, Sept 2, 2000 edition.


While reading an article in Fortune magazine I came across a subject that I could not pass up. It just so happened that we are dealing with this same subject in our class. The article was on income inequality. To some this concern passes by without a second thought. I for one have never experienced this problem but have seen many in my life who have. It’s a tough question that America is faced with. Why do the rich keep getting richer and the poor poorer? That question I feel is elementary. The real concern for me is why we don’t value the blue-collar workers more in this country.
We have all been told since the beginning, go to college and we will get a good job. But what about those who do not qualify for college? Believe it or not America, there are some citizens who are not college material. So what happens to them? Most are sent off to low paying jobs that can barely support themselves let alone a family, and without insurance. The odd part of this scheme is the college educated are their bosses. What happens here is a clash of power. The blue-collar citizen never has a chance. Not only are they underpaid they are also overworked. Why? Because we feel in America that if you don’t have an education then you should work yourself to the ground. Now I realize these views do not make up all of society. But in the majority I see this action happen time and time again. Why does the janitor have to get paid six dollars per hour at a Fortune 500 company? Is there not enough money to go around to allow them to provide for their family? Instead we say, “Hey Mr. Janitor. Go work two jobs; it’s not our fault you didn’t go to college”. Is this fair treatment in the richest country in the world? Some of these people making minimum wage do not even receive health benefits. What happens when their children get sick? These people are forced to go into debt, which they can never get out of, to pay for their child’s care.
The astonishing fact that lies before us is that the salary level for the white-collar jobs keeps rising and rising by thousands of dollars. In the meantime some citizens have to get jobs paying minimum wage. Point here is we have seen minimum wage go from $4.25 to $5.85 in seven years. What kind of salary increase is that? We in America are saying it is okay to pay a 16 year old the same pay as a single mother with 2 kids just because she did not educate herself. The major corporations in this country are getting richer and the government is allowing them not to return the favor to those on the bottom.

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I have watched so many people in my life who are outstanding law abiding citizens get treated like trash in the workplace. America’s new scheme is to take the high population of Mexican immigrants and pay them twenty five percent less than what an average employee would make. This is done to take advantage of those who are new to the country and do not have an option of taking the job. This is obviously not a new act done by society. We saw much of this in the early 1900’s. But have we learned as a nation from our troubled past? Because our government does not step in to ensure a man can provide for his family no matter what his title is, we continue to live in the past of inequality.

To conclude, just because a man or woman is the reason floors are clean, shelves are stocked, food is made, or customers are moved through the line, can they not earn a decent living? Can we as a great nation see these individuals, starting from the most prestige leaders down to college grads, as contributors to society who should be treated equal? Can some of our major corporations stop worrying about the millions of dollars profit they have, ad instead give back to the those who do the grunt work? I will end this paper tonight on a quote I heard while at work today. I work in the financial end of a restaurant industry. One of my fellow workers today was scanning hourly wages of associates that work throughout the company’s perspective markets. When looking at a specific market the comment was made, “look at these wages, if these keep going up this market is going to be in big trouble”. Granted some individuals who work in restaurants are teenagers. But there are some who work to support their family too. The high wages he was talking about, $6.66. America needs to address income inequality.