Letter sent to the New York Times on August 18, 1996. It wasn't printed.

To the editor:

The vast economic inequality which currently categorizes U.S. society and how out of sync that reality is with the way people wish to perceive our country is aptly demonstrated by "'Wealthiest? Who, Us?' Long Island Villagers Exclaim" (August 18, 1996).

Many of the residents of the country `s wealthiest villages are embarrassed by the revelation of their status. They are concerned about this information being made public and some seek to cover it up by pretending that other positive aspects of their communities are more distinguishing than their wealth.

The mayor of Hewlett Bay Park may not see "mountains and rivers" separating his wealthy enclave from other areas, but you can bet that those borders are as real as flesh and blood to the millions of poor people in our country who enter such neighborhoods only to pick up the garbage or clean the house.

In the past 16 years the gap between rich and poor has widened dramatically in the U.S., to the point where we now have the greatest inequality of any developed nation and have surpassed many Third World countries. The vaunted "supply side" economics, which Jack Kemp has re-injected into the Republican Party, is one key factor in this growing inequality.

If the "justice for all" sentiments expressed so eloquently in our Constitution are to serve as more than empty words, it's time to confront and change this terrible disparity.


Andy Mager