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The PBS Interview on Income Inequality: Main Ideas

Key Tenets of Income Inequality

The PBS interview on income inequality emphasizes the role of social class in the widening gap between the rich and the poor. According to PBS, one of the main reasons behind the gap is inequality in distributing financial resources (Income Inequality 2007). In the past, the government set the rules that all social classes operate under, but only the upper class can benefit from those rules (Income Inequality 2007). Wealthy people tend to enrich themselves and others in their income bracket by exploiting the government and “scratching each other’s backs” (Income Inequality 2007). Thus, the income gap is supported by the government and businesses that encourage further changes in tax law.

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The video also highlights that ordinary workers are losing power and do not benefit from their jobs. Beth Shulman notes that many workers cannot get paid sick days or family leaves (Income Inequality 2007). She provides an example of a family in which the older brother had to miss school to look after his sick sibling because the parents could not get time off (Income Inequality 2007). Because of the parents being powerless in their workplace, the child missed out on his education while the parents were forced to work in order not to lose income. Overall, the video shows that working-class people have no power to overcome the gap between the rich and the poor.

A Modern Example

A recent news story supports the idea that social class has a pivotal role in income inequality. Collins (2020) illustrates the gap between the rich and the poor through President Trump, who has paid between 0 to 750 dollars in taxes in recent years. Collins (2020) explains that most business owners can legally apply for tax breaks to pay as little as possible. Meanwhile, ordinary workers do not get the same leniency from the Internal Revenue Service and pay more of the percentage of their income in taxes than their wealthier counterparts. This division can be explained by the split labor market theory that views class as one of the main contributors to inequality in society (Fitzgerald 2014). There are multiple axes of inequality on the race-class-gender matrix (Berger and Guidroz 2010). President Trump is a white male who was able to use familial wealth to establish his own business. Overall, this example shows that social class plays a substantial role in income inequality, with race and gender being contributing factors.

References

Berger, Michele Tracy, and Kathleen Guidroz. 2010. The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy through Race, Class, and Gender. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Collins, Chuck. 2020. “The Worst Part of Trump Paying Zero Taxes? It’s Probably Entirely Legal.” The Guardian, Web.

Fitzgerald, Kathleen J. 2014. Recognizing Race and Ethnicity: Power, Privilege, and Inequality. New York: Routledge.

Income Inequality. PBS. 2007. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, May 9). The PBS Interview on Income Inequality: Main Ideas. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-pbs-interview-on-income-inequality-main-ideas/

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The PBS Interview on Income Inequality: Main Ideas." May 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-pbs-interview-on-income-inequality-main-ideas/.

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