July 4 Reading: Income Inequality


Joseph E. Stiglitz astutely points out that “justice has become a commodity, affordable only to the few.”
Letter to Editor (NATIONAL)

Martha Bergmark
New York Times (NYT)
July 3, 2014
Link to story

Organizations mentioned/involved: Voices for Civil Justice


DETAILS

Response to Joseph E. Stiglitz piece entitled “Inequality Is Not Inevitable” (part of the NYT’s “The Great Divide” series, Sunday Review, June 29):

Joseph E. Stiglitz astutely points out that “justice has become a commodity, affordable only to the few.” Indeed, the growing chasm between the rich and the poor is especially stark in our justice system, where the wealthy can afford high-quality legal representation and many others must navigate complex legal proceedings alone.

Recent studies have consistently found that 80 percent of civil legal needs of low-income Americans go unmet, even when they face potentially life-changing situations such as evictions and foreclosures, child custody hearings, and the loss of health care and other vital public benefits.

Civil legal aid programs have made progress in leveling the playing field by providing legal assistance to countless Americans when their families, homes and livelihoods are at stake. But for these programs to ensure basic fairness in our legal system, they need more government and private support. Otherwise, our courts will be just one more arena in our society where the cards are stacked against most of us.