Producer Blog: 'State of Inequality'
Posted March 7, 2017 12:50 p.m. EST
Updated March 10, 2017 3:52 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — Some say the difference between affluence and poverty comes down to the choices a person makes, but a child has no choice in what family he or she is born into and socio-economics can determine the opportunities that child will have. Children born into affluence are more likely to have educated parents who read to them while children born into poverty are not. Children born into affluence are more likely to have the opportunity to go to private schools and to college while children born into poverty are not. Children born into affluence are more likely to have their parents’ successful friends as positive role models while children born into poverty are more likely not to have any positive role models at all. As a result, children born into poverty are far more likely to stay there. Yes, the choices people make chart their course in life but not all people have the same options to choose from.
From FDR’s New Deal to Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty government has helped provide a safety net for many low-income families, giving many the stability they needed to eventually succeed on their own. But when nearly a quarter of North Carolina’s children are still living in poverty, government intervention has clearly fallen short.
Ask any expert about income inequality and solutions are hard to come by because the issue is so complex, but all agree it’s a problem that weakens our economy’s global competitiveness and the fabric of our society. When average CEO salaries are 335 times the average worker salaries perhaps the answer lies more with corporate America than it does with the government. Regardless of the solution, anyone who has seriously studied the issue believes it’s a problem when the top one percent in our country earns 25 times more than the bottom 99 percent.