Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Great American Going Out of Business Sale*

This report from the Center for American Progress (via Tapped) draws some damning conclusions about the state of class mobility and more importantly, American perspectives on class mobility. Their findings:
  • Children from low-income families have only a 1 percent chance of reaching the top 5 percent of the income distribution, versus children of the rich who have about a 22 percent chance.

  • African American children who are born in the bottom quartile are nearly twice as likely to remain there as adults than are white children whose parents had identical incomes, and are four times less likely to attain the top quartile.

  • The difference in mobility for blacks and whites persists even after controlling for a host of parental background factors, children’s education and health, as well as whether the household was female-headed or receiving public assistance.

  • Households whose adult members all worked more than 40 hours per week for two years in a row were more upwardly mobile in 1990-91 and 1997-98 than households who worked fewer hours. Yet this was not true in 2003-04, suggesting that people who work long hours on a consistent basis no longer appear to be able to generate much upward mobility for their families.

  • By international standards, the United States has an unusually low level of intergenerational mobility: our parents’ income is highly predictive of our incomes as adults. Intergenerational mobility in the United States is lower than in France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Among high-income countries for which comparable estimates are available, only the United Kingdom had a lower rate of mobility than the United States.
So what does this mean? The economy's methods of wealth generation are failing for the mass of Americans. The middle class is (by and large) disapearing. It's been noted over and over and over and over that jobs that used to sustain families are gone (and the unions that generated those sustainable incomes are blamed for generating middle-class wealth) and the new jobs that are created don't touch the ones they replaced in terms of wages, benefits, retirement security, and so forth. So what to do?

These folks have an idea.

*D4 fucking rock.

1 comment:

whiskey said...

Q:Hey Jerk, did you know you have extra bullet points? Wattsamattawithyou? Can't you format?

A: Yes. I know this. I fucked around with it forever, trying to get it right. Go to hell.