News, Politics

Gap Between Rich-Poor Growing: OECD

Rich and poorCanada’s rich people are getting richer and the country’s poor people are getting poorer.

That’s because the gap — or distance — between the amount of money the richest and poorest people earn at their jobs is widening.

The richest Canadians earn 10 times more than the poorest. That means if the average rich person earns about $100,000 a year, the poorest earns only about $10,000 for a whole year.

A new report by an international organization called the OECD* said the same thing has been happening in many countries including the United States. It has been happening since the 1990s, before the new millennium.

Back then, Canada’s richest, or wealthiest, people earned only eight times more than the country’s poorest. So if the average poor person had earned $10,000 a year then, the average rich person would have earned about $80,000, not $100,000 like they earn today.

Some people are angry about the difference in pay between rich people and poor people. They have been protesting, some of them by living in tents in parks. This is called the Occupy movement.

Another reason people are angry is that the government used to make sure the wealthiest people shared their money with the poorest. But this is not happening as much as it did before and the money is not going to the people who need it the most.

Governments used to make sure the money was shared by collecting more from the rich in taxes. The OECD organization that conducted the study of the rich and poor people in many countries suggested that maybe governments should do this again.

The OECD also suggested that countries educate their people well in school and offer them good training programs for the rest of their working lives.

One thing Canada is doing well is providing services to people, including education and healthcare. Only Korea, Mexico and Iceland put higher importance on services, the OECD said.

*OECD stands for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. According to its website, the OECD’s mission “is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.”

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Do you think the government should force wealthy people to pay more taxes and give more money to those less fortunate?
Do you think rich people have a moral obligation to share their wealth?

Reading Prompt:
Why do you think the gap between the rich and the poor has grown from eight times to 10 times?  Use ideas from the text and your own thinking to infer answers to this question.

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Derivatives
Often words have endings added to them that change their meaning.  These are called derivatives.  For example, derivatives of the word poor are poorer and poorest.  

Write the derivatives of the following words: big, tasty, bright, lively, soft.