The student clearly explains why the reading did or did not change his or her thinking about the issue. The student does not clearly explain how the reading influenced his or her thinking about the issue.

Why Has Income Inequality Been Rising Since the 1970’s?

DUE DATE: Sunday, Thursday 18th of September, by 9:00 PM on the NetTutor website: http://www.nettutor.com/worth/econ/wsu

Reading: “Skills, education, and the rise of earnings inequality among the “other 99 percent,” David H. Autor, Science 23 May 2014: 843-851. [DOI:10.1126/science.1251868] (Enter your WSU login name and password when prompted) (name:siwei.meng) password:Goodluck88!

Below are two competing views (Proposition #1 and Proposition #2) on why income inequality has been rising (even among the lower 99%) in the United States since the 1970’s.

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.”

1. A common trick used by dishonest commentators is to take a quote out of context and use it to support a claim that would not have been accepted by the original source. Suppose you wanted to persuade someone that Proposition #1 is true. Find a quote from David H. Autry’s article (see reference above) that you could selectively present to support Proposition #1, and explain how that quote supports the proposition. Begin by summarizing the claim made in Proposition #1. (1 – 2 paragraphs)

2. For the sake of symmetry, find a quote from Autry’s article that could be used to (dishonestly) support Proposition #2, and explain how the quote supports that proposition. (1 -2 paragraphs)

3. Assess the degree to which each of those propositions is actually consistent with David H. Autor’s well-researched 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 1970’s. (2 paragraphs)

• Begin with a topic sentence that concisely states your judgment about how consistent the two propositions are with Autry’s analysis, and complete that paragraph with a summary of Autor’s explanation. Be sure to mention some of the factors Autry identifies as having contributed to an increase in the demand for highly-educated workers and a decrease in the demand for less-educated workers.

• In your second paragraph, discuss the degree to which the two propositions are consistent with Autry’s analysis. Is one more consistent than the other?

4. Before you read Autor’s article, which proposition did you find more credible – #1 or #2? Did Autor’s article change your thinking about this topic – or reinforce your previously held beliefs? Explain. (1 paragraph)

Grading Rubric

The table below shows the criteria your essay will be judged against. I expect five to eight paragraphs, double-spaced. Your essay will be assessed as either ‘Meets expectations’ or ‘Needs improvement’ on each of the ten criteria in the table below. If your essay meets expectations on 9 of the ten criteria, your score will be 90%; 8 out of ten criteria met will result in a score of 80%, criteria.

This is the first of four writing assignments. After receiving feedback, you may re-submit the essay to NetTutor for another try – but you only get one second chance on each writing assignment. If you don’t get an acceptable score, even after revising and resubmitting this assignment, you can still rescue your writing assignment average by doing well on the next three assignments. I will take the average of your three highest writing assignment scores to compute your writing assignment average.

10 Criteria Meets Expectations Needs Improvement

Writing Ideas are well-organized. Transition sentences effectively connect one idea to the next. The essay is free of typos and grammatical errors. The writing is difficult to follow

and/or poorly organized.

Transition sentences are absent or ineffective. Typos

and/or grammatical errors distract the reader.

Question #1 Proposition #1 is accurately summarized. The summary of Proposition #1 is incomplete or missing altogether.

The chosen quote appropriately supports Proposition #1 and the explanation of how the quote from Autry’s article supports Proposition #1 is correct and thorough. The chosen quote is irrelevant or contradicts Proposition #1 and/or the explanation of why the quote supports Proposition #1 is incorrect and/or incomplete.

Question #2 Proposition #2 is accurately summarized. The summary of Proposition #2 is incomplete or missing altogether.

The chosen quote appropriately supports Proposition #1 The chosen quote is irrelevant or contradicts Proposition #1.

The explanation of how the quote from Autry’s article supports Proposition #1 is correct and thorough. The explanation of why the quote supports Proposition #1 is incorrect and/or incomplete.

Question #3 The topic sentence clearly states the student’s judgment about the degree to which Propositions #1 and #2 are consistent with Autry’s study. The topic sentence does not state the student’s judgment about the degree to which Propositions #1 and #2 are consistent with Autry’s study.

Autry’s arguments are correctly and thoroughly summarized. Autry’s arguments are mis-represented, and/or the summary is too skimpy.

The student explicitly states the degree to which the two propositions are consistent with Autry’s research, and supports his or her claims with examples from the reading. The question of the degree to which the two propositions are consistent with Autry’s research is not addressed and/or, is not supported with examples.

Question #4 The student clearly explains why the reading did or did not change his or her thinking about the issue. The student does not clearly explain how the reading influenced his or her thinking about the issue.

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