‘Rags-to-Riches’ Found in Hollywood, Not Real World Says New Study
It’s the core of the American Dream: the idea that our children, regardless of our own income level and educational background, could – with some hard work – hope for a better life.
That dream is on life support. And a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts brings further evidence that America is becoming an even more stratified society, with the middle class and economic opportunity increasingly a thing of the past.
According to the study, “Pursuing the American Dream: Economic Mobility Across Generations”:
Forty-three percent of American raised in the bottom quintile remains stuck in the bottom as adults, and 70 percent remain below the middle. Forty percent raised in the top quintile remain at the top as adults and 63 percent remain above the middle…Only 4 percent of those raised in the bottom quintile make it all the way to the top as adults, confirming that the ‘rags-to-riches’ story is more often found in Hollywood than in reality.
It’s gotten to the point that many nations – from Germany to Kenya – now provide more opportunities for economic advancement than America.
Writes journalist Tim Noah:
When Americans express indifference about the problem of unequal incomes, it’s usually because they see the United States as a land of boundless opportunity…The problem is, this isn’t true. Most of Western Europe today is both more equal in incomes and more economically mobile than the United States. And it isn’t just Western Europe. Countries as varied as Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Pakistan all have higher degrees of income mobility than we do.
So can we stop the slide? Yes, but it’s going to take some real change: a boost to the minimum wage, eliminating obstacles that interfere with workers’ ability to organize and collectively bargain, a fairer, more progressive tax code, a national commitment from officials in the private and public sectors to end outsourcing and rebuild American manufacturing.
And that takes a movement. And that is why we are going to Philly on Aug 11. Spread the word about the Second Bill of Rights and the rally. It’s up to us to save the American dream.