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Economic Differences

April 16, 1993

In response to Guy Molyneux's "The Other America," Opinion, April 4:

We used to joke of the old Soviet Union that all its citizens were equal--equally poor. Today the United States is the wealthiest nation but that wealth is falling into the hands of an ever-smaller number of Americans. The middle class--the true middle class--has been in decline since the mid-1970s and in the last 12 years it has seen its ranks diminished at an alarming rate. This increasingly drastic polarization of wealth spells the end of the stability of our political institutions.

How we deal with the ever-widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots in the coming years will determine whether our democracy lives or dies. For what happens when the overwhelming majority of Americans realize that their interests are not the same as those who perpetuate the status quo? Presently, the underclasses fight among themselves over questions of race, ethnicity and morality, but what happens should they unite and demand their share of the increasingly elusive American dream? Class warfare is not some social ill that looms on the horizon, it's here now and the only question is whether our children shall inherit a nation that resembles Sweden or Brazil.

PAUL LEAL

Mira Loma

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