One of the social issues concerning power, status, and class in current American society is income inequality. The income gap between the social classes has increased significantly throughout the last few decades, creating a significant gap between the rich and the poor. This gap has become so large that the middle class has nearly disappeared, creating a social class compromised of the rich and the poor. Social Class defines the access different people have to resources and puts groups in different positions of privilege and disadvantage. The significant gap between the two social classes is unhealthy for the economy because it provides too much power to individuals with a higher social status.
Wealthier individuals often have more power than the poor and are sometimes even able to maintain their wealth at the cost of the poor. Inequality of income is often one of the most significant reasons for the inequality within classes socially and one of the most important reasons that poverty is often affecting several generations. Closing the gap in wealth is one of the most essential ways to ensure that inequality is addressed and that the other social issues surrounding this gap will be diminish until it hopefully disappears with time.
There are many different factors that contribute to inequality. These include education, wealth, discrimination, ability, and control power. Education and wealth have a big impact on income inequality. Education and wealth go hand in hand when talking about income inequality. Chapter 8 and the reading from the State of the Union, Income and Earnings, connect when speaking about education; individuals with a higher education are higher in the social class ladder. This is proven more within the young millennials; they are attending college at higher rates, which makes them more stable financially. Of course it helps when a family is wealthy to begin with they have a better chance of paying for a college education. As the reading stated, the way up to social class ladder is higher education. The social mobility, of a person moving up the social class within time, can occur between different generations or within their own generation.
Another point made by both readings was status inconsistency, the situation where an individual’s social positions have both positive and negative influences on his or her social status. The article showed the income inequality amongst men and women, as well as the inequality between the genders within their own social class. Women do better than other women in their generation but they still cannot catch up to men’s higher ranking in the social latter. There are both positive and negative effects among both gender social statuses.
Some factors used to measure social class are, income, education, and occupational prestige. Two other important factors that determine a workers’ income, are their race and gender. Minority groups, such as those labeled as working, working class, and underclass, and women are less likely to receive an income they deserve, regardless of the job. They are seen as less educated and less capable of doing certain jobs, and they are limited in moving ahead and achieving a more appropriate income. To be considered of the upper class, you need higher college education completion under your belt to have better income and earnings.