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Reading: David H. Autor, “Skills, education, and the rise of earnings inequality among the ‘other 99 percent,’” Science, 23 May 2014, 843-851.

Proposition #1: “More people are falling behind today because they’re lazy. In the U.S. anyone willing to work can earn a decent living. The income distribution is the same as the effort distribution. People who work hard earn a good living. Lazy people stay poor. The income distribution has been skewing because of a growing culture of dependency. It used to be shameful to accept handouts from the government, but now it’s perfectly acceptable. So, more people opt out of the labor force and sit around collecting handouts from the rest of us. Of course, their incomes are going to be lower than those in the top tiers.” Proposition #2: “The incomes of the rich and poor have been growing farther apart due to purposeful policy decisions that have favored the rich at the expense of the poor. Starting with Ronald Reagan’s financial deregulation, and continuing with successive Republican attacks on New Deal and Great Society social programs to finance tax cuts for their Wall Street cronies, government policy in this country has systematically channeled the rewards of our immensely productive economy towards the rich and away from the poor. America needs to open the gateway to prosperity for all through fair tax policies, decent minimum wages, better public schools, aid to low-income college students, and a universal health care system.” Assess the degree to which each of those propositions is consistent with David H. Autor’s wellresearched explanation of the same phenomenon. That is, for each of the propositions tell me whether or not Autor would agree that the underlying factor described in the proposition is the major cause of the pattern of income inequality since the 1970s. (2 paragraphs) 1) Begin with a topic sentence that concisely states your judgment about how consistent the two propositions are with Autor’s analysis, and complete that paragraph with a summary of Autor’s explanation. Be sure to mention some of the factors Autor identifies as having contributed to an increase in the demand for highly-educated workers and a decrease in the demand for lesseducated workers. 2) In your second paragraph, discuss the degree to which the two propositions are consistent with Autor’s analysis. Is one more consistent than the other?

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