Income inequality is nothing new. It’s been around for millennia. All you have to do is read the Bible or history books to know that’s true.

One of the ideals about the culture of the United States — something that has been deeply woven into the social fabric — is the notion of the American dream. The concept is that everyone has an equal chance of getting ahead.

But a recent Bloomberg National Poll indicates that the dream has evaporated. Sixty-four percent of respondents agreed with that assessment. And the disillusion is expressed most prominently by those who make $50,000 a year or less.

Experts say the survey is reflective not just of income inequality, but also of an increasing income gap between the rich and the poor. 

The issue has driven many to seek debt relief in many ways. It’s so clear a problem that it’s one of the few things that political leaders on all sides agree needs to be addressed.

Data shows that the gap has generally been widening for decades, but analysts say that it has begun to be really apparent in the past few years. The reason, they say, is because methods that lower-income Americans have had for finding extra cash no longer work.

They note that jobs are scarce. Those who have them are holding on to them, or even working two or three. And home equity funds went away when the housing bubble burst.

The picture offered by the experts doesn’t seem to be very bright, but we would suggest that it doesn’t include all available options, including bankruptcy. The reason for that may be because of the many misconceptions people have about bankruptcy. The right way to dispel them is to consult with an experienced attorney.

Source: Bloomberg, “Americans on Wrong Side of Pay Gap Run Out of Means to Cope,” Rich Miller and Michelle Jamrisko, Dec. 30, 2013