A study released in 2001 by the Congressional Budget Office reveals that income disparities increased over the previous twenty years. The Congressional Budget Office reported that from 1979-1997, the poorest 20 percent of U.S. citizens found their after-tax income stay flat or fall slightly. Individuals and families in the middle 20 percent enjoyed a modest 10 percent increase in that period, but the top 1 percent of the population found their average after-tax income increase by 157 percent. This report refutes the idea that income disparities stopped growing in the 1990s (Norton, 1). Cornel West writes in Nihilism in Black America that “no culture can develop without a social basis, without a source of stable income” (West, 17). West fears the growing income disparity between races. He sees it as leading to disillusionment in among black Americans, which in turn leads to apathy or even violence.
Romie Tribble Jr. reports that the transition from a manufacturing based economy to a service-based economy has caused both aggregate class and within-race class inequality to increase in America. Tribble adds that although the income disparity across races is narrowing in the upper and middle classes, the disparity within the lower class is widening. Tribble suggests that this is proof of race-based income discrimination. Based on Tribble’s findings, we can infer that during periods of economic slowdown, the opportunities available to racial minorities become less abundant and that income disparity between races tends to increase (Tribble, 152).
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