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Political Science - Essay Example

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The LA Times published an opinion column by Michael I Norton and Dan Ariely about the distribution of wealth in the United States titled, “Spreading the wealth: The gap between rich and poor in the U.S. is bigger than at any time since the 1920s. Is that really what most…
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Political Science
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Political Science

In 2003, Dinesh DSouza wrote an article published on the web in the National Review Online, titled “10 Great Things: What to Love About the United States” that said that the wealth gap was not a problem, that their was an upside to the wealth gap and that the critics “ignore what is unique and good about American civilization.”
This discussion will compare and contrast these two articles. The themes and conclusions of both articles have been presented in the first paragraphs of this discussion. Next, the arguments the authors use will be briefly outlined. Then the persuasiveness of each article will be evaluated.
Norton and Ariely use quantitative evidence or numerical evidence. They present various statistics: Specifically, three sets of statistics. They begin by identifying the wealth gap. In the United States today the wealthiest 20% of the population owns 85% of the national wealth and the bottom 40% “own very near 0%.” In fact, since many are in debt and have no assets they may control negative wealth, or even less than zero. These numbers came from an analysis by Edward Wolf of New York University.
In The LA Times survey the sample was asked what they thought was the distribution of wealth in America (not what it is but what they think it is). They thought the distribution of wealth was less unequal than it is. They thought that the wealthiest 20% owned only 60% of the wealth and the bottom 40% had 10% of the wealth (not zero or even less). Then when asked what they wanted the “ideal distribution of wealth” to be they said even more even than their perception. They want the top 20% to own 30% of the wealth and the bottom 40% to own 25%. Basically, most Americans do not realize how uneven wealth distribution is in the United States, they think it is less uneven than it is and they want it to be even less uneven than they believe that it is.
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