The Gap between Wealth and Poverty in the USA

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Income inequality is a major issue in the United States. We often hear how people cannot get basic things such as healthcare or put food on a plate 3 times a day. These are dire conditions for many people that are under the poverty line. These are basic living needs that many people in the upper-middle-class don’t need to worry about. The people in poverty are not able to afford healthcare resulting in them living with untreated diseases that end up shortening their lives. The New York Times published an article titled “Study Shows Income Gap Between Rich and

Poor Keeps Growing, With Deadly Effects” that was written by Lola Fadulu. The article’s intended audience is Americans across the nation because people’s awareness needs to be raised about what an issue this is and what can be done to reverse and close the income gap.

This article goes into depth talking about how the income gap affects how long people are living. It discusses that 75% of rich Americans in the US in their 50s or 60s in 1992 were still alive in 2014 compared to only just over 50% of poor Americans were still alive. The article talks about how not only rich people are living longer, but life expectancy is actually shrinking for some compared to their parents or grandparents (Fadulu). This statement shows how income inequality is becoming a bigger issue and more people are falling into poverty resulting in them not being able to afford good healthcare ultimately resulting in shorter life expectancies for many Americans across the nation.

Health issues are a major concern for many people in low-income situations due to their lack accessible healthcare. For example, people living with diabetes in high-income areas have no problems and it is a very manageable disease for people like them because of their education on the topic and access to certain doctors and products that make it manageable. However, people at or below the poverty line don’t have such access resulting in easily managed diseases cutting their life expectancy down.

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Another factor that was linked to longevity was in educational levels. The study found that people who graduated from college lived longer than those who didn’t. This also ties into the notion that people who are college-educated fall into wealthier income levels. People with more money have the income available to attend college in contrast to people who barely have enough money to live comfortably. It could possibly be because higher education could lead to a better understanding of health as a whole therefore, people who do not have as high of an education as their peers may not understand how important maintaining a healthy lifestyle is.

Another concern is for the many Americans who are heading towards retirement age. Many Americans are working longer because they can’t retire on their current savings. When they finally do retire, they are dependent on a failing Social Security system that can barely sustain them. This also goes back to the gap between wealth and poverty.

Clearly something needs to be done for this to change so there is no inequality because everyone should have an equal chance to live as long as possible. It is unfair that just because some people don’t have access to good healthcare that means that their lives are cut short. Many have suggested solutions to help with this growing crisis. One idea was to cut Social Security benefits for wealthier individuals and target programs for those with less income. Because wealthier individuals have access to retirement plans, they rely less on Social Security during their retirement. Fadulu quotes Bernie Sanders, “We must put an end to the obscene income and wealth inequality in our country, and ensure living wages, quality health care and retirement security for our seniors as human rights”, he also is quoted as saying “If we do not urgently act to solve the economic distress of millions of Americans,” he added, “a whole generation will be condemned to early death.” Sanders believes that taxing the rich is a solution to closing the income gap. A solution to the issue of the income gap getting in the way of people having access to good healthcare is to have places for lower-income people to go to get good healthcare. There should be programs developed to educate people on how to live a healthier life even if they are in low-income situations and give them access to healthcare if they have such health problems.

Bernie Sanders who is quoted quite a lot in the article is a proponent of affordable housing for low-income Americans and he also believes in Medicare for all and some sort of education for all. There was a Time magazine article titled “Why Bernie Sanders Is Talking About Poverty” by Sam Frizell in which Bernie Sanders speaks on the subject of poverty. “There have been a number of studies that have come out recently which have shown that low-income people have a life expectancy significantly lower than wealthy people. In other words, poverty is a death sentence,” Sanders told an audience at Marist College in the Hudson Valley. “There is a physiology of poverty — that means when you wake up in the morning, you don’t know how you’re going to feed the kids, how you’re going to get access to health care. That stress alone wrecks havoc on your body,” Sanders continued (Frizell). This connects to the New York Times article because it touches upon how there is a lower life expectancy in lower-income people. This Time magazine article connects and intertwines with the New York Times one a lot because of its discussion about how people are working more and lower-paying jobs adding so much stress to their lives while subtracting years. Both articles are talking about the major issue of how low-income families across the nation are dying sooner and Sanders is quoted in the article and specifically discusses how the stress alone of worrying about affording healthcare or simply getting food on a plate wreaks havoc on the body and cuts down life expectancy. The articles main purpose is to bring awareness to the fact that the gap between wealth and poverty has a severe impact that can affect lives. It wants to show how serious this issue is by highlighting life expectancy decrease and effect on the nation’s health in general. It states how people who are in low-income situations should have the same chances of living to old age as their wealthier counterparts but the only way this could happen is by offering resources to healthcare and retirement benefits that could sustain them for the rest of their lives.

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