New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed on Monday titled "How Fares The Dream?" in which he said that Martin Luther King Jr. would be disappointed in today's America.
In the piece, Krugman writes about the new issue of this century: income inequality. He notes that while there are still civil rights inequalities for women and minorities, they have been taken over as the main issue by poverty and the wide income disparities that were brought to the forefront by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Yet if King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks. And in America, more than in most other wealthy nations, the size of your paycheck is strongly correlated with the size of your father’s paycheck.
Goodbye Jim Crow, hello class system.
Economic inequality isn’t inherently a racial issue, and rising inequality would be disturbing even if there weren’t a racial dimension. But American society being what it is, there are racial implications to the way our incomes have been pulling apart. And in any case, King — who was campaigning for higher wages when he was assassinated — would surely have considered soaring inequality an evil to be opposed.
Do you agree that MLK would be disappointed in today's America?
Read more at the New York Times.