BY JASON THOMPSON-WILSON
Millions of people are affected by poverty, and struggle financially daily, while others thrive. Why do we allow this to continue when there is a way to end it? Wealth inequality in the United States is the unequal distribution of assets among residents of the United States. As one group of people makes more money than the other, the gap widens between them. To reduce wealth inequality, employment and business should Boston’s primary focus area because it will give a steady source of income, increase lower class wealth, and prevent the unemployed to seek alternative methods of income.
Employment and business opportunities should be implemented to give a good, steady income. In the narrative “Outside”, by Kiese Laymon, a character named Dave has to resort to selling drugs because he wasn’t earning enough but needed to support his family. Many Bostonians like Dave also have to resort to participating in illegal activity because they aren't given adequate employment opportunities. Laymon writes,“while Dave Melton worked at Vassar, he sold drugs to sad people inside and outside Vassar’s gates” (Laymon 108). Dave’s job was not supporting him enough to keep him financially stable, and if he was given a better opportunity or even higher pay, he wouldn’t have to resort to crime. Assumedly, if Dave was given a good steady job, he would have had enough money, and been above the poverty line, which would have had put him in the place where he doesn’t have to look anywhere else for money. This relates to Boston citizens, as many working class people have to look for other forms of payment to be stable in life. More or better opportunities would allow them to only have to look for one method of payment and keep them out of trouble, reducing wealth inequality over time. Adding on to the fact, if Dave had been given a steady good job, he wouldn’t have violated his parole and stayed out of prison. Laymon states, “When money for bus rides got tight, Dave missed one week, then another week, and another. His PO told him he understood that Dave didn’t want to leave his daughter and money was tight, but he’d have to arrest him when he entered Maryland for unlawfully crossing state lines while on parole. A warrant was issued for Dave’s arrest” (Laymon 109). If Dave had had a steady job, he would have been able to afford for transportation to his parole, and would have stayed out of prison. There are many other people around the world, especially in Boston who need money to do certain things that are important, and can affect their everyday lives. Giving everyone an employment opportunity will keep a good steady income, which will allow those who can’t afford to live the way need, be able to do so.
Dagoberto Gilb's “Hurray for Losers” illuminates the need for better jobs with higher pay in low-income neighborhoods. Gib's main the main character does not have access to the best opportunities, and those around him either dreamed about jobs or didn’t work more than minimum wage. Employment opportunities need to be implemented to increase lower class wealth, and supply jobs to those in need. The narrative highlights the need for jobs for the lower class youth. Gilb states the youth “talked about jobs and income as soon as they got out. Loading docks and trucker training, fireman, bartender, carpenter, plumber jet mechanic, butcher.” (29). This shows the youth are thinking about job opportunities right when they get out of high school. As they think about what they want to do, not all of them will have the opportunity to have them. Implementing said job opportunities can employ the youth, giving jobs to those who are just getting out of high school. Along with being in need, there were those who weren’t working more than minimum wage. In the narrative, the main character is in a community where even most of the surrounding adults are making minimum wage. Gilb states “ Around 30 to 40 men and women where at least 150 were employed, all minimum-wage level” (Gilb 288). This shows how the people in this community, aren’t making enough to support themselves and shows that better employment opportunities need to be given to them.
Neighborhood comparisons show the difference in neighborhood income and show employment opportunities need to be given to decrease the gap in wealth inequality. Looking at data from neighborhood comparisons you can see that one neighborhood has a higher income average than the other. According to Boston Plans, neighborhoods including Allston with income averages like $39,717 are drastically smaller than neighborhoods like South Boston Waterfront making $111,518. This difference shows the difference in income, showing that there is a need for more employment opportunities to decrease the gap. Also, looking at the number of jobs available, numbers of jobs for different neighborhoods is also significantly different. Boston Plans also highlights neighborhoods like the West end were providing 37,302 jobs, while West Roxbury was only giving out 5,638 jobs. This big difference shows there is a great need for more jobs that are lacking in opportunities and are needed to increase the wealth in lower class neighborhoods.
Though supplying those in need with education would help them in the long run to get jobs, it would not be able to supply them with jobs as soon as 2019. Education takes many months or years, and while it could educate about professions, supplying jobs right away could put those in need of employment right into the working field, helping to fix the inequality gap as soon as 2019. Secondly, giving out education would not be fully helping the youth that is seeking employment. Not every teenager is given a job, but many are seeking one, and giving them an education, which most have, doesn’t work to reduce the gap. However, giving them jobs will grant teenagers from neighborhoods around the U.S with jobs, and help reduce the gap.
Employment and business must be the focus for Boston if we want the wealth inequality gap to be reduced. Giving jobs to all kinds of people will help raise lower class, supply jobs to the youth, and protect people from looking for alternative methods of income. This is important because millions of people are struggling with poverty every day, and directly giving them a fresh start with a new job, could change their life forever. An employment opportunity is going to put them out of the statistic.
Jason is a bright student, lyricist, and aspiring model who shines at Boston Collegiate Charter School.