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Colin Bunker

In the article “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” Joseph Stiglitz argues that there is a growing split in the income equality in America and the wealthiest one percent actually controls the government and the economy. Stiglitz says “First, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity (Stiglitz 1).” He argues that as income inequality continues to increase, the opportunities for the poor to become rich drops. Stiglitz argues that there is less opportunity for the poor to make money which means the difference in incomes will continue to rise. Stiglitz also says “But one big part of the reason we have so much inequality is that the top 1 percent want it that way (Stiglitz).” He contends that the top one percent have the money and the power to control government tax policies to keep the wealthy from losing their money. Stiglitz argues that the top one percent play major roles in electing government officials, therefore, government officials will please the wealthy by continuing to lower their taxes. He states that for this reason the wealthiest one percent have the power to keep the income inequality in favor of the top one percent.

Stiglitz is certainly correct when he says that the top one percent have enough power to control the government. Most elected officials are members of the top one percent before they are elected and they all know that the donations given to them by the wealthy played a major role in the outcome of the election. For this reason government officials will do whatever it takes to please the top one percent. As long as the wealthy are happy, they will continue to throw money into campaigns to help officials get reelected. In this way the rich have power over the government and have some control over tax laws.

Pablo Ricardo consider riccola

There is absolutely no such thing as a one percent, this article is horribly, and irrefutably wrong. This is garbage and should not be read if you have any common sense and General knowledge of the world. If he had any common sense, he wouldn't have written such nonsense.

English 104-520 Group 1

Stiglitz states in his article that the top 1% of the country have far too much power and wealth currently when compared to the general population, and that this inequality will continue to grow and cause issues in the future US economy. This growing inequality causes a loss of opportunity for nearly everyone, and forces people to choose jobs that are less productive to society if they wish to have any significant amount of wealth. His point is visible to anyone who looks at the current situation in the U.S. The rich have massive influence over the government, and one of the more noticeable ways they exert this influence is in tax breaks and kickbacks for the rich and their interests, while they simultaneously campaign to remove even the smallest social welfare programs that help the very poorest of society, an unfair exchange in anyone's eyes. Our point of view agrees with that of Colin Bunker, and he makes other well thought out points about the ways that the rich influence the government.

Nick Michaelian

America the land of opportunity,that has not been true for decades. It should be called the land of opportunity for those born into wealth. Or as Joseph Stiglitz put it the 1%, a very select group of powerful rich people. It's hard for me as a citizen of the USA to look towards the future and imagine myself with a bank account with an amount close to that of a fortune 500 CEO. I grew up in the lower class neither of my parents went to college nor could they afford to help me go either. With this trend happening to many people aside from myself, the future looks to the same as the present while the rich prosper the poor plummet deeper into financial uncertainty.
There is no more American Dream it's more like an American Nightmare, the wealthy or 1% continue to find ways to keep others from potentially entering their bubble, mainly the midale class here in America. The bush administration did several crucial things by way of tax breaks for the 1%ers. While the rest of society is still trying to crawl from the reckage that proceeded this changes for the less fortuante. We as a country are capitalist which essentially means more profit no matter what not enough profit and everything centers b around the making of that profit. That is why it is no surprise there hasn't been drastic changes to laws that Bush put into action. My guess is, those in the Senate know that creating a higher rate for the 1%ers directly affects the money they line theis pockets with. Which is why I don't expect to see changes anytime soon. Given all of this the fact still remains that America does provide a land of opportunity just not for those who truly need it.

Kurt Navarro

America was supposed to be the land of equal opportunity for all. The unequal distribution of income takes away the equal opportunity that we all once thought we had. With the government supporting mostly the rich we are not taking care of all of our people. Stiglitz reaches out to all American citizens to show that they are the "who cares" in his writing with "An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul". The government needs to invest in things that will help our country as a whole and not just the top 1%. The top 1% would like to keep everything where it is at today and the same way it got to this way, with lowering tax rates on capital gains.
Our American identity, what all our ancestors supposedly came here for, has completely changed. We no longer have equal opportunities to succeed in life. That will in turn pass down to our children to just continue this trend. The people today should care about where our economies money is going because that unequal money distribution affects us with giving the working class less money and less opportunities for their children so they may not be able to get the best education or go into the field they really want to which can have an even more positive impact on society.

Joyce Melendez

Economic equality in America does not exist, as is apparent in Stiglitz's article. As he speaks about the control and power of the top 1 percent, it is obvious that inequality is part of America. America was meant to offer equal opportunities for all, that just isn't the case anymore. It seems as though only the top 1 percent are capable of living the "American Dream."
While a majority of Americans may never experience their "American Dream" it is not necessarily out of reach. Even though individuals may be unable to achieve certain goals because of the economic inequality, the "American Dream" concept can remain alive. Just because there is a lack of opportunities, does not mean that individuals should simply give up and curse the top 1 percent. Since some are more privileged than others, it is understandable that they would want to remain on top, at the expense of others.
Nowadays, people have to fight and struggle in order to get ahead. Even though America faces rough economic times and the defeated mindset is present, there can still be hope. It seems that people are quick to blame others for their position and remain where they are instead of utilizing whatever resources they may have to better themselves. In the end, money does go a long way and can get you many things, but so does determination, which I think is lacking in America, at times.

Lily Khuu

When the most educated people in America let history repeat itself, the primal instincts of the paleolithic hunting lifestyle rears its head. The wealthiest people in America are still hoarding all of the fresh meat even though they aren’t exactly starving. In author Joseph E. Stiglitz’s article, published in The Vanity Fair, “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%,” the inevitable is laid out on the table where everyone in the room can see. The platter is filled with 40% of America’s wealth and only 1% of Americans are eating this dinner (Stiglitz). In fact, only 1% of Americans have been enjoying this entreè for decades. This article was written in 2011, where Sitglitz cites 40% as the amount of wealth the top 1% currently control. Three years later this year’s annual report by Credit Suisse shows that the author’s concern in 2011 were never addressed ("Global Wealth Report 2014"). According to Jill Treanor, “Taken together, the bottom half of the global population own less than 1% of total wealth. In sharp contrast, the richest decile hold 87% of the world’s wealth, and the top percentile alone account for 48.2% of global assets” (Treanor).

Works Cited
"Global Wealth Report 2014." Credit Suisse, Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Stiglitz, Joseph E. "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%." Vanity Fair. N.p., May 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Treanor, Jill. "Richest 1% of people own nearly half of global wealth, says report." The Guardian. N.p., 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

Nicholas Riley

The American dream today suffers a crisis of identity as we struggle to remain a “nation of the people, by the people, and for the people” and our crisis seems to originate from a lack of economic and social equality in which the rich are the ruling class and seek to propagate their own selfish desires. Stiglitz himself pointed out the fact that in America, “the top 1% controls 40% of the wealth in America” and a “quarter of [its] income.” Even more disturbing is the fact as Stiglitz pointed out that a poor person or middle class person has more chance of making it in Europe than in America, the very place that when our nation was founded, we had tried to differ from in nature.
The root is the entrenched nature of congress being engrossed with corporations and themselves members of the 1% all while being lax on number of things such as funding for education, infrastructure, and technology. When I was a boy, I used to go in front of the mirror and practice renditions of myself going back and forth as the president and his attendant. Later in life I thought to myself, why be the president when one could be the man behind the scenes pulling the strings or influencing his decisions in some manner? Now I think that it was child’s play and that only someone who is properly funded with hundreds of millions of dollars could ever attempt it because of certain laws that allow for unlimited campaign spending and other obstacles in addition to that.
The dreams of the common person are no different than other little boys and girls all over the nation and what our nation was founded on was the ability of someone to approach what in other countries could be insurmountable and be all that they could be or something like that. Obviously, I cherish even the mere idea of that and that has been enough to sustain my identity; that someone like me somewhere has the ability to move mountains to get to the top of America. This dream is probably not a reality though and I think it would be extremely prudent for America to readjust its tax laws, anti-trust laws and its collective action.

Makala Cole

America, where all of your dreams and ambitions will come true and be fulfilled… at least that is what most like to make themselves believe. In “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%,” Joseph Stiglitz claims that the ratio between wealthy and not is growing and the wealthiest one percent control our nation. Stiglitz states, “[f]irst, growing inequality is the flip side of something else: shrinking opportunity (Stiglitz 1).” Because of this, the poor will find it harder to find job opportunities and therefore, will only greater the gap of separation.
He argues that the growing spilt in the income will rapidly increase the income equality. He supports his claim by giving examples on how this issue will only become greater such as the governments’ politicians. The wealthy support the politicians that will give the top one percent what they want (lower taxes) thereby eliminating all other candidates. Those politicians that have been supported by the wealthy have been elected and further their term by creating a never ending cycle of a government official-wealth relationship. Unequal distribution of income will only grow and lessen the chances that the “average Joe” will get a chance at the “American Dream.”
Stiglitz grabs the reader’s attention by creating it a personal matter. “An economy in which most citizens are doing worse year after year—an economy like America’s—is not likely to do well over the long haul (Stiglitz 1).” As revered to in They Say I Say as the “who cares”. I feel by this, he is trying to create an avalanche. He wants us to think about what he has proposed. That the so called “American Dream” is dead because we aren’t controlling our lives, the wealth is. Maybe after that, let us take stand and pay more attention to government officials. I feel like the point of this article wasn’t necessarily a call to action but the first rolling rock down the mountain to get the readers to thing.
As for my dream, I’m unsure. I may look towards this subject with a more cynical approach, but I still have some hope. It only takes a few people to start the avalanche, so let’s get this thing rolling!

Allison Browne

In Sitglitz's essay, "Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%", he makes the argument that the top 1% of American's hold a disproportionate of wealth, and as a result, they are the only ones really capable of living "The American Dream." America is certainly not the only society that favors the rich, giving them special treatment, but we are one of the few countries in which income inequality is growing, rather than decreasing. The wealthiest American's receive substantial tax benefits, particularly on capital gains, which is where most of the majority of the top 1% receive the most of their wealth.

While I do not want to begrudge anyone their success, I have grown up as a first generation, lower-middle class, minority American, and I often feel as though moving up the income class ladder is just a myth. If you want to get a good job, you need to go to college. If you want to go to college, you need time and money. If you do not have these to begin with, improving one's financial situation seems near impossible. I know that for me, it is less about accomplishing the American Dream, and more so about just surviving at this point, while trying to keep up with school in addition working sixty or more hours a week to support myself and my parents.

Mohammad Alam

The statistics Stiglitz provide on the distribution of wealth in the first paragraph are staggering, but not surprising. It has become apparent that hard work and determination can only get you so far and in America this is barely off the front porch. It is upsetting that, as Stiglitz put it, “[t]hose who have contributed great positive innovations to our society . . . have received a pittance compared with those responsible for the financial innovations that brought our global economy to the brink of ruin.” And it is sickening that corporate executives have been rewarded with “performance bonuses” when their contribution had been an outright net negative.
Stiglitz gives a logical explanation of the growing inequality. That is, the wealthiest are not only the ones with the most assets, but they are also the most economically powerful. In other words, what they want is what they get and if they want bigger tax cuts, they are going to get it. It is a cycle as Stiglitz states “wealth begets power, which begets more wealth.” With so little power, I wonder how the middle and lower classes will bring about change for their own benefit. The one big thing Stiglitz does not do is provide concrete solutions, but he does suggest that the American system has become unjust similar to places elsewhere. His intentions are to make the reader wonder when public uproar and protests will come to America just as it did in other corrupt countries where the few have accumulated the most, where the top 1 percent had not understood that “their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live” and this will bring their downfall. We have all heard of the “American” Dream, but maybe we should look for it elsewhere, before things come crashing down.

Quintin Brinkley

I agree with the point that Mohammad makes when he states that Stiglitz offers no solution to the problem. Inequality is a growing problem in America, with the top 1% of people controlling 40% of the nations wealth. Almost every U.S. Senator and most House Representatives are among that 1%. Politicians campaigns are funded by members of the 1%, and to keep the 1% happy they pass legislation that favors the 1%. Lowering the tax on capital gains is a direct example of this, as many of the 1% receive large amounts of income from capital gains. Many people are aware of the inequality of wealth in America, but what can be done about it?

Laura Harris

I agree with Allison Browne’s statement about how moving up the income class ladder is just a myth. Statistics show that only about one-third of Americans actually surpass their parents to move to a higher income bracket. Even less likely is move several brackets, for example, from poverty level to the upper class and the 1%. Having to earn a degree if you want to make more than minimum also poses a large challenge to those who cannot afford college, as they are often forced into making the decision between going into tens of thousands of dollars in debt to get a degree or working minimum wage for the rest of their life and struggling from paycheck to paycheck. I believe Allison is speaking for a large number of people when she talks about just trying to survive while juggling school and full-time work. It is clear how this process becomes a cycle in the next generation of kids, with no simple way of breaking that cycle. Some major issues that need to be looked at in contributing to the financial struggle for many families include college tuition and expensive housing costs.

Avni Dalal

From reading the comments in the article, most of us readily agree that the unequal wealth gap is an issue that America faces. Growing up in a family that immigrated to the US to achieve the American Dream, I saw, and still see, my parents work hard everyday. After almost 30 years of living in America, we would still be considered middle-class. As I grew up and came to college, I saw so many of my friends struggling with finding jobs. Many have also changed their majors to something business-related instead of in science or art because there are more opportunities and "it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology" (Stiglitz, 1).

While I agree with most of the students, Joyce states that the American dream is not out of reach and that we have to fight for it. Her statement seems to be an over-generalization of the situation in America and disregards the reality of situation. The top 1% do control most of the wealth, have a strong hold on policies and laws, and therefore influence the opportunities the middle and lower class have.

She states that "it is understandable that they would want to remain on top, at the expense of others." America is supposed to be the land of opportunity so is it right that the top one percent cannot give up some of their wealth for the betterment of all of society?

Drew Latour

Colin Bunker's claim that most politicians are already a part of the 1% prior to election rests upon the questionable assumption that just because politicians may be funded by the 1% means that they are the 1%. While there is little difference between the two, Bunker should acknowledge that while politicians are indeed wealthy, they are not part of the 1%. Politicians have been known to be disproportionately white, upper middle class males, which puts them in about the top 15-20% of the country in terms of income.

A. Schwarz

In response to Collin I must argue for the politicians. While the politicians do get a lot if not all of their funding from the one percent, they are elected by the ninety-nine percent. When it comes down to it, politicians must at least attempt to help the one percent. Part of the reason Obama was elected over Romney, it has been argued, was because Romney looked like he was too much on the side of the one percent and Barrack looked more like he supported the ninety-nine comparatively. The ninety-nine do a lot to help the politicians but the majority elect them so policitians cannot completely favor the one percent.

Margaret Parker

Income inequality, or the disparity in wealth between the upper and lower classes, is a constantly growing divide in modern America. This schism is a result of manipulation and abuse by the top 1%, and the havoc it wreaks on our economy cannot be addressed until the influence of money in politics has been curtailed. The gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" has always been, and will always be, an unavoidable aspect of a capitalist society. Yet in the last quarter century, this small crack has grown into a massive chasm. The two ends of the socioeconomic spectrum aren't coming closer together; they're spreading further apart. This divide's deepening is the perfect inverse of another trend: the growing influence of wealth, especially during election season. One of the Supreme Courts's most famous rulings, Federal Elections Commission vs. Citizens United, illustrates this phenomenon. Now, for-profit companies are subject to no restrictions whatsoever in their donations to political campaigns. They are allowed to spend as much as they want, on whoever they want, effectively buying candidates and funding their ascent to power. These politicians are heavily obligated to the corporations who paid their campaigns, and will often do whatever it takes to ensure their support come the midterms. This turns Capitol Hill from a (supposedly) productive pinnacle of democracy into a corporate factory, churning out legislation that reinforces the standing of the very people who put them there.

Thusly, the only way to increase the lower and middle class's access to the same privileges as the 1% is to limit the ability of the upper class to control elections. If donations for corporations were capped, just like private ones are, the playing field would be dramatically leveled. This would enable everyone's voices to be heard, regardless of class standing or bank account size. And by enabling a greater socioeconomic diversity in politics, leaders who support closing the income inequality gap will be elected. This is vital in solving the problems caused by inequality, and taking the first steps toward a fairer future for everyone.

Josh Haeker

It is human nature to be opportunistic. If there is an opportunity to improve upon our status in life, we usually take it. However the flip side of being opportunistic is that it can foster greed and selfishness when one person repeatedly succeeds. As a result of the opportunistic culture in America which is supported by the constitution, (we have "unalienable rights" to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"), the wealthy have seen and taken an opportunity to exploit an economy also founded on the ideals laid out in the constitution. The wealthy, using their wealth, have created a never ending cycle of using wealth to increase wealth. In his article, Stiglitz implied the greed of the wealthy, and likened the American economic situation to a pie. My view is that by hoarding all of the pie, the rich will eventually starve the 'cooks', or the middle and working class employees in their hotels and restaurants and factories and what-not. In other words, by exploiting the flaw in the system and taking an increasingly larger share of the profits, the rich will undermine the base of the system, and cause it to collapse. Furthermore, the rich "1%" (according to Stiglitz) compound the already monstrous problem by not feeding their massive amount of wealth back into the economy. The law of supply and demand, which the American economy is based on, breaks down if the ability to demand dwindles, as is happening in America. By hoarding their money and trying to build up and build up instead of using their money to do something, the rich are essentially taking money out of circulation. By doing so, and leaving less money for the 99% to utilize, the rich are starving their own empires of workers and thus will eventually break the entire system. According to Stiglitz, the rich control 40% of the nations wealth already, and that number keeps increasing. The true irony of it all is that the only ones who can stop this are.....the rich. and their busy getting richer, while their workers get poorer. In order to solve the issue, the government would have to implement a different organization system, like further organizing the houses of congress by saying a majority of politicians elected have to come from the middle class, or by removing the right of corporations to donate to campaigns. (In my opinion, it already is illeagal because if even one employee disaggrees with the decision to donate or with the head of the corporations pollitical views, since the corporation represents everyone, workers included, by definition, then if there is even one disagreement the donation breaks that digressers constitional right to free speech.) Just my thoughts.

R. Sidhu

Everyone is looking out for their best interests. And Stiglitz correctly identifies the problem with our narrow-minded approach. Not only is this distribution of wealth extremely unfair to those with less, but it will most probably end just as any other skew of wealth has—getting rid of the wealthy. However, the rich should not care about their fellow Americans because of perceived threats. Asking for moral responsibility to their peers is difficult as well, as that seems to go against the very foundations of capitalism. After all, hard work is supposed the pay off. The rich will undoubtedly question why the earnings of their hard work should go others who do not deserve them. Like a dragon with its hoard, they are fiercely protective, and perhaps not without reason. However, if they were to see this not as them giving up wealth, but as an investment in their economy and in their future, they might view it in a more positive light. Besides, positive light or no, the 1% are not the only representation of America. There are another 99% out there, trying desperately to reach that pinnacle, and if they deem the struggle too unfair, then better educations, better security and better medicine will be worth very little to the 1%. They too must look out for their best interests.

Camara Casson

In America, it is no secret that the top 1% controls over 40% of today’s income. While their income and controlling stakes in the economy have grown considerably, they have been falling for everyone else. The financial gap between the rich and the poor has been widening for the last decade and the inequality between the top 1% and the other 99% is even more obvious. If inequality is the uneven opportunities or chances between sets or groups, then inequality in wealth distribution is the American economy’s biggest problem. With every passing year, as the rich grow richer, the corporations and the people’s own interests are at risk of being bought by those who can afford it. Also, the top 1% have been awarded more tax breaks than any of the other classes. Also, those with the money have the power to control political decisions based on financial influence on candidates.
Sadly, it’s not just our political system that suffers the wrath of the income controllers. Those who have less money face bankruptcy and foreclosure. The economy has no stop cap or limit placed on how much money or tax returns the rich can earn. Which means the government will spend government money on the benefits needed by the poor. Despite the means of placing governmental regulation, the income gap between rich and poor is both worth shrinking and being equally represented by our grade leave to shrink the gap.
As humans tend to look out for ourselves, and while it may temporarily benefit us, the consequences can be much larger and much more disastrous. Our economy would become a pit of endless loans and mass amounts of debt, policies would benefit huge companies and not the everyday citizen, and also the rate of inflation would increase due to the lack of money for necessities and products increasing demand.

Shaun Adams

I could not agree with this article more. This article almost perfectly explains the economic reasons why I personally do not like the US and I'm not super patriotic about it (which i know will could get harassed about if there were a reply section). In America nowadays, the term "Money is Power" could not be more true. Celebrities for example, they're able to get out of just about any problem with the law the have. They have that unfair privilege because of all the money they have. The top 1% have so much money compared to the rest of us that could be very beneficial to helping the state of this nation, but yet they don't. The 1% are the epitome of self-interest. The majority of them think only of themselves and not the suffering people of this nation.

Some people can not get ahead in this life because of the little amount of money they have to start from. So many of the lower class or the lower-middle class have nowhere to go at all because of all the increasing prices of food, gas, clothes, etc. Money is not circulated well enough in this country for all of us to have an equal opportunity to live our lives as well as other, such as the top 1%.

Nanilei Parenteau

Joseph Stiglitz discusses the injustice behind the American democracy in “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”. He begins by revealing the vast changes in terms of wealth over the years, highlighting the gap between the 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent. The belief that the American dream is unachievable or unable to be maintained by the lower class is in my opinion false. Although Stiglitz brings forth a strong argument with shocking numbers and percentages, it is my opinion that it may be difficult to obtain however it is not impossible. The American dream is subjective to each individual person, it does not have to be in the form of wealth, capital or assets, and therefore to say that it is unobtainable to a certain class is flawed.

Nanilei Parenteau

Joseph Stiglitz discusses the injustice behind the American democracy in “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%”. He begins by revealing the vast changes in terms of wealth over the years, “Economists long ago tried to justify the vast inequalities that seemed so troubling in the mid-19th century – inequalities that are but a pale shadow of what we are seeing in America today” (Stiglitz). He highlights the gap between the 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent, and how unknowingly America has allowed inequality to silently exist “to improve the plight of the poor and reduce gaps in income, America has allowed inequality to grow” (Stiglitz). The belief that the American dream is unachievable or unable to be maintained by the lower class is in my opinion false. Although Stiglitz brings forth a strong argument with shocking numbers and percentages, it is my opinion that it may be difficult to obtain however it is not impossible. The American dream is subjective to each individual person, it does not have to be in the form of wealth, capital or assets, and therefore to say that it is unobtainable to a certain class is flawed.

Jessica Lopez

Joseph Stiglitz, author of “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1” supports Goff in numerous ways. Stiglitz talks about how the wealthiest of society has an overwhelming affect and power on America and how one of the outcomes is shrinking opportunity, which is what the dream is supposed to be about. I agree with Stiglitz when he says “America has long prided itself on being a fair society, where everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead, but the statistics suggest otherwise…”. When the rich don’t have to worry about certain factors, naturally it will detach them to what others are struggling with, in need of and what matters to them. As Stiglitz points out in the article, many politicians are from the 1 percent and everything goes in full circle because the 1 percent is affecting every move. I think the biggest problem that Stiglitz bring up is that the further the inequality goes, the harder it is for the 99% to reach the “American Dream”.
I think we have strayed from the dream that everyone lives here for and some recreate their own dreams but others get left behind with the bare minimum.

Jake Alvernaz

In Joseph E. Stiglitz," Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%", he states that America is ran by the top 1% wealthiest people. They control the politics, the government, taxes, army, etc. They don't care about the rest of the population and their needs. the top 1% supports each other to make sure they are still running things their way. Like Stiglitz states they have almost all U.S. senators, most of the House of Representatives, and the key executive branch all from the top 1%. the top 1% is basically, no they are, running this country. With so many of them in Congress, they make sure to stay in Congress by money and when they get out know they will be paid for all the work they did to keep things in favor for the rest of the top 1%.
However, the top 1% needs to realize, the government and laws can't always be in their favor. Th rest of the population, which is majority, needs equal opportunity. Otherwise, America is going to spiral down, all because they realized too late.

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