Income Inequality/Wealth (Mis-)Distribution is a Moral Sin!

Income Inequality/ Wealth (Mis-) Distribution is a Moral Sin!
In the English Composition class I teach every semester, my students usually write an essay on the idea of the “American Dream.” I try to help my students to think critically about the relationship between the craft and art of “writing well and effectively” and the “reality of life.”
This semester, I’m going to show this documentary below produced by ABC News about income inequality in the United States and the life of this particular firefighter in Pennsylvania who works three jobs to support his family.
The featured firefighter in the video is a hard-working professional who works two full time jobs and a part time job to provide for his family.
No, the poor are not lazy!
No, the working class Americans are certainly not lazy.
Wealth (mis-) distribution or income inequality in this country is a moral sin, a profound crisis. There’s a deep ethical problem between the rich and the rest of us.

3 thoughts on “Income Inequality/Wealth (Mis-)Distribution is a Moral Sin!

      • I see your point. But why not ask your students to explain and support which of two definitions is more likely correct:

        1. Yours [above]

        2. James Truslow Adams’ (October 18, 1878 – May 18, 1949) definition:

        Adams coined the term “American Dream” in his 1931 book The Epic of America. His American Dream is “that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”


        I was raised in a Children’s Home along with many friends. As adults, a majority–maybe as many as ninety percent– were strong, positive contributors to society. They said they likely achieved as much in life as they were capable in spite of clearly being in disadvantaged states before entering the Children’s Home.

        There are some references which confirm the positive outcomes of Children’s Homes alumni, most notably Dr. Richard McKenzie’s books, articles, and videos. He is shortly to publish an article dead-on the topic of “achieving the American Dream.” I have read the draft; it is scholarly written as one might expect from a Ph. D. economics professor [emeritus] from Univ. of California, Irvine. In his book “Miracle Mountain,” 2013, Dickens Press, chapter nine, “Reflections” conveys the essence of his findings.


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