Instead of a “gap between rich and poor,” we’re far better served calling it a “barrier.” A barrier connotes a big, imposing wall behind which a few can hoard the goodies, while those on the other side are left wanting. When you barricade yourself in, you keep others out. Instead of asking to “bridge the divide,” let’s insist on dismantling the obstacles that keep too many from the gains produced of their own hard work.
The metaphor of inequality as a barrier, wall, or other obstruction highlights several critical truths about our economy. It tells us these objects are man-made. This conveys that inequality is not some God-given, inevitable, natural wonder. We have built these barriers, and we can bring them down. In other words, there’s another way our economy can be structured if we elect and work for it.
- It implies all people are equally capable and deserving
- It suggests inequality has structural and deliberate causes, “barriers” are generally understood as man made, not natural
- It suggests a role for the audience, you can further develop and specify, in breaking down barriers
- It’s tangible and part of lived experience, we’ve all faced impediments
What’s problematic about gap?
- Rich and poor live in separate economies; if “two Americas” who cares what happens in that one?
- Emphasis is on outcomes, not how division came to be
- Allows audience to fill in what caused the gap
What’s problematic about top/bottom?
- The top (rich) good
- The bottom (poor) bad
Phrases to use
- inequality blocks people from getting resources
- inequality leads to holding people back
- set in place obstacles for the rest of the population”
- those who are excluded from the economy
- access to resources
- access to opportunities
- participating fully in the economy
Racial wealth gap
Divide between rich and poor
Bridge the gulf
A more hierarchical society
Money flows to the summits
Pull yourself up by your bootstraps