Is the Gap Between the Rich and Poor Immoral?

Generic images (Thinkstock)
Generic images (Thinkstock)

President Obama's recent comment that America's growing income inequality is "morally wrong" led CNN's John D. Sutter to explore whether income inequality is, in fact, a question of morality. He asked four experts with differing views for their perspectives.

It's getting harder to shock people with stats about income inequality.

Americans know they live in a two-tier country — one where the uber-super-ultra-rich are leaving the rest of us behind; where, as Michael Moore famously put it, 400 of the richest people control the same amount of wealth as 150 million others; where, as President Obama said in a speech on Wednesday, the "average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999." "Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits," the president said in his prepared remarks, "nearly all the income gains of the past ten years have continued to flow to the top 1%."

1%, 2%, red percent, blue percent.

At a certain point, these numbers bounce off our foreheads.

That's why I found it particularly refreshing that Obama, however briefly, argued this week that America's growing income inequality is "morally wrong."

The fairness of the widening rich-poor gap, or the lack thereof, has been discussed far less than the number soup. Yet it's a crucial question — perhaps the central question — for America to consider. The fairness gap is the basis for a wide range of policies, from the tax code to education; health care to the minimum wage.

So is extreme inequality amoral?

Read John D. Sutter's entire piece at CNN.

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