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Author Topic: (land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy  (Read 1526 times)

Offline TRX

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(land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy
« on: April 27, 2006, 06:53:08 AM »
(This is not the kind of story I hope to see and share. But keeping eyes open is important if American hopes will thrive better.
I think it will be interesting to see challenges to the claims here.
One recommedation that resonates to me is the importance of having wide access to higher education. I was fortunate in a number of ways.)


http://news.yahoo.com/fc/business/us_economy;
_ylt=Ap8PpFE7WEo3xJ8ZJ.CkkGFg.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTA2ZGZwam4yBHNlYwNmYw--

Rags-to-riches dream an illusion: study By Alister Bull
Wed Apr 26, 11:42 PM ET
 


America may still think of itself as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

The likelihood that a child born into a poor family will make it into the top five percent is just one percent, according to "Understanding Mobility in America," a study by economist Tom Hertz from American University.

By contrast, a child born rich had a 22 percent chance of being rich as an adult, he said.

"In other words, the chances of getting rich are about 20 times higher if you are born rich than if you are born in a low-income family," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank sponsoring the work.

He also found the United States had one of the lowest levels of inter-generational mobility in the wealthy world, on a par with Britain but way behind most of Europe.

"Consider a rich and poor family in the United States and a similar pair of families in Denmark, and ask how much of the difference in the parents' incomes would be transmitted, on average, to their grandchildren," Hertz said.

"In the United States this would be 22 percent; in Denmark it would be two percent," he said.

The research was based on a panel of over 4,000 children, whose parents' income were observed in 1968, and whose income as adults was reviewed again in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999.

The survey did not include immigrants, who were not captured in the original data pool. Millions of immigrants work in the U.S, many illegally, earnings much higher salaries than they could get back home.

Several other experts invited to review his work endorsed the general findings, although they were reticent about accompanying policy recommendations.

"This debunks the myth of America as the land of opportunity, but it doesn't tell us what to do to fix it," said Bhashkar Mazumder, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland who has researched this field.

Recent studies have highlighted growing income inequality in the United States, but Americans remain highly optimistic about the odds for economic improvement in their own lifetime.

A survey for the New York Times last year found that 80 percent of those polled believed that it was possible to start out poor, work hard and become rich, compared with less than 60 percent back in 1983.

This contradiction, implying that while people think they are going to make it, the reality is very different, has been seized by critics of President Bush to pound the White House over tax cuts they say favor the rich.

Hertz examined channels transmitting income across generations and identified education as the single largest factor, explaining 30 percent of the income-correlation, in an argument to boost public access to universities.

Breaking the survey down by race spotlighted this as the next most powerful force to explain why the poor stay poor.

On average, 47 percent of poor families remain poor. But within this, 32 percent of whites stay poor while the figure for blacks is 63 percent.

It works the other way as well, with only 3 percent of blacks making it from the bottom quarter of the income ladder to the top quarter, versus 14 percent of whites.

"Part of the reason mobility is so low in America is that race still makes a difference in economic life," he said.


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Offline merm

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Re: (land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2006, 07:43:05 AM »
Unbroken link HERE

Offline Jonathan

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Re: (land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2006, 07:57:16 AM »
I find this information heartbreaking in so many ways.  It seems that we are both blinded from the truth and believe the dream all at the same time.  Living in a superfical culture where credit, shopping and commercials abound has convinced us that it is all within reach when all it is really doing is keeping people down and in place while the corporations feed on us.

When will we see that living short term does nothing but rot away our society.  Its all about the almighty dollar and nothing about education, community and our future.

Stopping now, this could go on and on.

Thank you for posting.

Offline megc

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Re: (land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2006, 09:07:37 AM »
shopping

I always found it odd - even as far back as high school - that people considered "shopping" to be a recreational activity, like running or hiking or watching a movie.  I always considered it just something you do in a practical sense.  Even in the tourism PR, "shopping" is listed as an activity along with sightseeing, etc.  I am not talking about food shopping here.  I have always wondered about this "shopping" thing.

I'd rather focus on education and community, as is contributes to our future, to borrow terms from Jonathan.

Thanks for posting, TRX.

Offline Jtrane

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Re: (land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2006, 09:50:15 AM »
Thanks for these two posts, TRX.  As I see this article, and the one written by Hentoff to be related, I'll touch on both points.   Education will set you free.  I'm very fortunate because I went to a fabulous public school in Rochester, that encouragaed its students to ask questions and delve into things.  We had the equivalent of civics classes in high school, where we learned, in depth, about the 3 branches of government, seperation of powers, checks and balances, etc...  As well as the difference between civil and criminal court, which is surprising how many people don't know the difference between.  I am proud to say that the vast majority of my friends that I have kept in touch with are some of the smartest, most talented people I know, some of whom are beginning their careers of great importance, that one day could benefit us all.  But I don't know that they are inherently smarter than anyone else that comes from poor or disadvantaged schools.  I really believe that the reason my friends and I have been able to succeed is because of where we come from and the schools we were able to attend.  Cash is king, as they say.  And with educational priorities so out of whack, I don't see much hope for the future.  Test scores have become the priority.  So as a result, teachers are forced to simply teach kids how to pass a test, and kids aren't encouraged use critical thinking.  So as a society, we are going to have a huge influx of people who know how to cram for a test, but not retain information.  I find that to be very scary.  A passive society that doesn't question authority is not good.  The US exists because the Revolutionaries refused to bow to the British authority.
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Offline TRX

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Re: (land of opportunity?) fw: yahoo - us economy
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2006, 11:09:12 AM »
Unbroken link HERE

Thanks Merm!  :-D
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