My Comments: From age 10, I grew up in middle America with an educated father, a full time mother and a dog. It was assumed I would go to college, get a job, be self sufficient, and at the very least maintain the same standard of living as my parents.
I achieved that goal but that expectation is fading. The economic threshold promised by higher education is lower than it was when I was in college. We can argue ‘till the cows come home why this is so, but the reality is causing young people to struggle where I did not.
Economic inequality in this country is increasingly dramatic, and in my opinion, the cause of much of the tension we experience and describe as racial, as urban vs rural, as educated vs uneducated, and so on.
If there is a reason to try and preserve the integrity and opportunity for greatness in this country, then our political leaders have to address income inequality or we can kiss our ass goodby.
by Raj Chetty, David Grusky, Maximilian Hell, Nathaniel Hendren, Robert Manduca, Jimmy Narang December 8, 2016
The American dream isn’t dead, but it’s got one foot in the grave, according to new research.
The Washington Post reports that 92% of people born in 1940 earned more money at 30 years old than their parents did when they were the same age.
Researchers say doing better than your parents is the American dream, economically speaking. But for people born in 1980, that percentage had dropped to 51, according to the Wall Street Journal.
That means barely half of today’s 30-somethings are doing better than their parents. People born in the middle class and the Midwest have seen the steepest declines. The New York Times calls it some of the “most eye-opening economics work in recent years,” as well as “deeply alarming.”
A slowing economy alone doesn’t explain the drop off in the American dream, and researchers place the blame largely at the feet of growing inequality.
Over the past 30-some years, nearly 70% of income gains went to just the richest 10% of Americans. Researchers say that if inequality had stayed where it was in 1970, 80% of today’s 30-year-olds would be out-earning their parents.
“We need to have more equal growth if we want to revive the American dream,” researcher Raj Chetty says.
Without addressing inequality, researchers say the economy would need to grow 6% annually to reverse these trends. Donald Trump is only promising to grow it by 3.8% per year; experts say it’s more likely to be closer to 2%. (The American lawn, too, has seen better days.)