The Haves and Have Nots

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The Haves and Have Nots

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Laila Avery, Reporter

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According to SparkNotes, the class system in America is composed of these six classes: the upper class, the “new money” class, the middle class, the working class, the working poor, and the poverty level class. CNBC states that the upper class is defined as those whose household income is more than double the national median, which was $57,617 in 2016. The new money class, or nouveau riche class, has the same income as the upper class, but has only obtained it recently. The middle class, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is defined by a household income of $35,000 to $99,999 for 2017 data. The working class, or lower middle class, is defined by an income from $30,000 to $50,000 dollars. The working poor, defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is a household made up of workers that fall below the poverty level of the US. This poverty level depends on the number of people in a household, and for a family of three, the poverty level is $25,520 dollars. The poverty class is the same, but presumably without workers.

America will never be a socialist country.”

— President Trump

These classes define American lives as we know it. Some are eligible for welfare, some are not. Some are eligible for medical aid, some are not. Some are eligible for scholarships, and some are not, all based on how much money you have at your disposal. If one didn’t know better, they’d think that it was better to stay in poverty because things are being handed to you. “America will never be a socialist country,” President Trump states, but in a way, aren’t we already? Laws and policies are in place to keep the less fortunate less fortunate, and, evidently, to keep the rich on top of their bags of money. This spans from taxes to the justice system. As Quora states, “Money is the measurable ability to get good things, and avoid bad situations.”

Living proof of this is an incident reported on December 15, 2013, by Jessica Luther from The Guardian in which a sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch killed four pedestrians and paralyzed his friend while driving drunk. He also stole the alcohol from a Wal-Mart near the accident and had Valium, or Diazepam in his system, which has serious interactions with alcohol. His blood-alcohol level was .24, which is three times the legal limit in Texas. The judge’s response to this was to let him off with ten years of probation and therapy due to “affluenza”, or a mental illness that comes from being too rich. A psychologist named G Dick Miller was called to the stand, who commented, “He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way. He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”

After that sentence, the young man proceeded to skip town and hide out in Mexico, evading and violating his probation. This, in turn, gave him two years in prison and six years of community service. The minimum sentencing for murder in any other case is a minimum of ten years, so what makes this boy any different? Some think it’s race, some think it’s religion, but in reality, it’s because he’s rich. A variety of situations prove that the United States is comparable to an aristocracy as well, though we don’t want to admit it. Even the indecent tales of our current US President are covered by his riches, seen in multiple reports about the Trump-Daniels exchange of $130,000 to keep her silent. I’m not saying that money itself is the root of all evil, but in America’s case, it plays a rather big part in it.