Children in wealthy families have opportunities that children in poverty-level families do not. What are the long-term consequences of inequality for individuals and societies
Movement from one level in a stratification system to another.
Intergenerational mobility is mobility by family members from one generation to the next.
Intragenerational mobility is mobility of individuals within their own lifetime.
The American Dream
Quick and easy ways to attain the American Dream, such as winning the lottery, have great appeal to many people in the United States and throughout the world.
Small Business and the American Dream
We think of Bill Gates as having achieved the American Dream. However, sidewalk vendors with their own business may believe they have achieved their dream, especially when they come from nations where a similar dream would not be possible.
Comparison: Marx and Wright Models of Class Structure
Wright’s Capitalist Class
Capitalist class is exemplified by Bill Gates, the co-founder and head of Microsoft Corporation
Wright’s Managerial Class
Wright’s Small Business Class
Long Hours and Hard Work
This single mother with four children seeks the American Dream by working three jobs as a practical nurse while attending college.
Wright’s Working Class
Distribution of Pretax Income in the United States
New Data: Top 1% Pay Greater Dollar Amount in Income Taxes to Federal Government than Bottom 90% Data also show incomes growing across all percentile groups For more information, contact: Bill Ahern at (202) 464-5101. Washington, DC, October 4, 2007 - New data released by the IRS today offers interesting insights into the distributional spread of the federal income tax burden, new analysis by the Tax Foundation shows. Summary of Federal Individual Income Tax Data, 2005 (updated October 2007) Source: IRS http://www.taxfoundation.org/
http://www. taxfoundation.org/ Number of Returns AGI ($ millions) Income Taxes Paid ($ millions) Group's Share of Total AGI Group's Share of Income Taxes Income Split Point All Taxpayers 132,611,637 $7,507,958 $934,703 100.00% 100.00% - Top 1% 1,326,116 $1,591,711 $368,132 21.20% 39.38% above $364,657 Top 5% 6,630,582 $2,683,934 $557,759 35.75% 59.67% above $145,283 Top 10% 13,261,164 $3,487,010 $657,085 46.44% 70.30% above $103,912 Top 25% 33,152,909 $5,069,455 $803,772 67.52% 85.99% above $62,068 Top 50% 66,305,819 $6,544,824 $906,028 87.17% 96.93% above $30,881 Bottom 50% 66,305,818 963,134 28,675 12.83% 3.07% below $30,881
The table above shows that the top-earning 25 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $62,068) earned 67.5 percent of nation's income, but they paid more than four out of every five dollars collected by the federal income tax (86 percent). The top 1 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $364,657) earned approximately 21.2 percent of the nation's income (as defined by AGI), yet paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of tax returns paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent of tax returns
The IRS data also shows increases in individual incomes across all income groups. Just as the highest earners lost the biggest percentage of their incomes during the recession of 2001, so they have prospered the most as the economy has continued to rebound. In sum, between 2000 and 2005, pre-tax income for the top 1 percent group grew by 19.1 percent. In the same time period, pre-tax income for the bottom 50 percent increased by 15.5 percent.
This pattern of income loss and growth at the top of the income spectrum is the same during every recession and recovery. The net result has also been a sharp rise in federal government tax revenue from 2003-2005 compared to previous years.
Marx and Class Conflict
Marx’s concept of conflict between the capitalist and working classes continues to be visible in events such as strikes.
Mexican, Mexican American, and other U.S. workers took a day off work to express concern about stricter immigration laws.
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Tuesday, December 23, 2008 4:20 PM PT Class Warfare: President-elect Obama finally has a job for Vice President-elect Biden — czar of Obama's "middle-class task force." So what will that involve? Stirring up class envy and resentment is our guess
Here's Biden on his job: "We'll look at everything from college affordability to after-school programs, the things that affect people's daily lives," he told ABC's "This Week." We're not sure Biden could even tell us what the middle class is — in terms of income, wealth, education or any other meaningful measure. But we are sure one thing is certain to come out of this: A greater resentment between economic classes, stirred up intentionally as part of a divide-and-conquer strategy ultimately intended to impose punitive taxes on those deemed "wealthy.“
It's all nonsense, of course, but it seems to be effective. Obama's pledge to " rebuild the middle class" by giving tax breaks to "95% of workers and their families" no doubt won him a lot of votes. But guess what? The middle class did get a tax break — a big one, it turns out — under President Bush. As Congressional Budget Office data show, the effective tax rate on the middle fifth of households fell from an average of about 17.1% under President Clinton to 14.4% under Bush. That's a 16% tax cut for the middle class.
Another oft-heard claim is that middle-class incomes are stagnant or shrinking. But a study last year by the Minneapolis Fed concluded that "incomes of most types of middle American households have increased substantially over the past three decades." Class warriors such as Biden like to cite median household income as evidence of stagnation. And on the surface, it seems convincing: Real household income did grow just 18% over the past 30 years. But after correcting for distortions in the data, Terry Fitzgerald, a Fed senior economist, found something else: "Median household income for most household types . . . increased by 44% to 62% from 1976 to 2006." And per-person income surged 80%.
Rather than stagnating, income has grown at an extraordinary pace. Yet that story never quite gets told. Instead, we hear about another myth: "growing inequality.“But according to the accepted measure, the Census Bureau's Gini ratio, there was virtually no change in inequality from 2000 to 2007. Yes, many Americans are suffering in this recession, including the middle class. But the last thing we need is another general in a phony class war telling people how bad they have it.
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 4:20 PM PT Stimulus: President Obama, a smart man, says that tax cuts for the wealthy are the main reason we're now in such economic trouble. Someone needs to tell him how utterly — and dangerously — wrong that is.
MARCH 15, 2009, 12:38 A.M. ET
Obama's Income-Tax Changes to Come in 2011 By TOM HERMAN Q: I thought I heard on television that the income-tax increases proposed by President Obama on people with higher incomes will take effect in October 2009. But I also heard another station say all those changes will be effective in 2011. Which is it? N.B., Carrollton, Texas A: President Obama's proposed income-tax increases on higher-income taxpayers would be effective in 2011. The president has proposed raising the top two tax brackets. The 35% top rate on ordinary income would increase to 39.6%, and the 33% rate would rise to 36%. The president also has proposed new limits on itemized deductions, and the top rate on long-term capital gains and most dividends would rise to 20% from 15%.
The president says these plans would affect upper-income Americans, described as families making more than $250,000. Clint Stretch, managing principal, tax policy, at Deloitte Tax LLP in Washington, estimates a couple with two young children and $500,000 of income would owe about $11,300 more in taxes if all the budget provisions are approved. The president also has proposed federal estate-tax changes that would be effective in 2010. Here's how they would work: For this year, the basic federal estate-tax exemption is $3.5 million, and the top rate is 45%. (However, transfers from one spouse to the other typically are tax-free.) Based on current law, the estate tax is scheduled to disappear in 2010 -- but only for that one year. The president's plan would extend this year's $3.5 million estate-tax exemption level -- and the 45% top rate -- into future years.
Split Labor Market Theory
Suggests that immigrants from low-income countries are often recruited for secondary labor market positions: dead-end jobs with low wages, unstable employment, and sometimes hazardous working conditions.
By contrast, migrants from higher-income countries may migrate for primary-sector employment jobs in which well-educated workers are paid high wages and receive benefits such as health insurance and a retirement plan.
DVD Raging A Living: In Pursuit of the Elusive American Dream by Roger Weisberg Public Policy Productions; ISBN 0-7670-9037-3 305.5 WAG, DVD
Immigrants and Employment
Many people often view the words immigrants and workers as being
almost interchangeable because the primary purpose of much immigration is to find work or for employers to have a larger pool of low-paid workers from which to hire new employees.
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted 3/12/2009 Economy: At least 300,000 of those stimulus jobs will go to illegal aliens who are likely to send that money home to their native countries. Just whose economy are we stimulating? The stimulus package is supposed to stimulate the American economy and create American jobs, but missing from it are measures to guarantee that. As a result, say both the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Immigration Studies, hundreds of thousands of these jobs will go to illegal aliens, and much of the money they earn will not be spent here. The original House version included a provision requiring employers to check registration status with the E-Verify system before hiring. This provision was missing from the Senate bill and was not in the final version sent to President Obama.
In a February report by the Heritage Foundation, senior research fellow Robert Rector looked at the 2 million construction jobs the stimulus is supposed to create. "Without specific mechanisms to ensure that workers are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants authorized to work," he concluded, "it is likely that 15% of these workers, or 300,000, would be illegal immigrants.“ Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, comes up with the same figure for construction jobs based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and other independent findings that 15% of all construction workers in the U.S. are illegal aliens.
Camarota says the total number of stimulus jobs going to illegals may be higher. At least a million more jobs are said to be created by the stimulus, and with 5% of the overall U.S. work force consisting of illegals, they could get another 50,000 non-construction jobs. Rector sees another downside. "The fact that illegal aliens send a substantial portion of their earnings abroad reduces the stimulus effect that their employment has in the United States," he says. Remittances, Mexico's second-largest source of foreign income after oil, dipped 3.6% to $25 billion in 2008, compared with $26 billion the previous year, according to Mexico's central bank. Will our stimulus improve Mexico's economy? "It's outrageous that in a bill designed to provide employment for Americans, Congress has deliberately chosen to allow jobs to be given to illegal immigrants," Rector adds.
Immigration and the Changing Face of the Media and marketing
As recent immigrants to the United States reach out to find media sources that reflect their culture and interests, executives at many media outlets strive to reach the large number of young people who represent the future of the larger ethnic categories in this country.
Absolute poverty exists when people do not have the means to secure the most basic necessities of life.
Relative poverty exists when people may be able to afford basic necessities but are still unable to maintain an average standard of living.
Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007 U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. CENSUS BUREAU By Carmen DeNavas-Walt Bernadette D. Proctor Jessica C. Smith Issued August 2008
% Distribution of Poverty in the U.S. Education White African American Asian American Hispanic No diploma 15.7 34.8 15.8 26.7 High School Graduate 9.4 22 11.3 15.4 Some college 7 14.9 11.5 10.6 College degree (or more) 3.7 7.1 6.1 7.5
% Distribution of Poverty in the U.S. Age White African American Asian American Hispanic Under 18 10.5 33.6 10 28.9 18–24 14.5 28.1 17.9 22.6 25-44 7.8 20.2 8.1 18.4 45-64 7 16.8 7.9 14.4 65 and above 7.5 23.9 13.6 18.7
Household Income by Race/Ethnicity in the U.S.
Many women are among the “working poor,” who, although employed full time, have jobs in occupations that are lower paying and less secure than jobs in other sectors of the labor market.
Percent of U.S. Population Without Health Insurance, 2002
Sociological Explanations of Social Inequality in the U.S. Functionalist Social inequality is necessary for the functioning of society. Conflict Powerful individuals and groups maintain their position in society at the expense of others. Symbolic Interactionist Beliefs and actions reflect people’s class in society.
E S S A Y Q U E S T I O N
There are a number of significant demographic trends (i.e., population shifts) extant in the U.S. which is altering the population mix in the U.S. Discuss 3 of these major trends; addressing 1 salient cause of and 1 major social consequence for each of these 3 trends.