Growing evidence shows that the effects of the Great Recession, and really the policies of Republican Presidents and Congresses since 1980, have created a grim reality for a vast majority of Americans—likelihood of poverty, deprivation, and lack of opportunity, even for college graduates in large numbers for a long period of years! And where one lives does, and will have a dramatic effect on the long term futures of millions of citizens!
A study shows that four out of five adults in America will struggle with joblessness, near poverty, or reliance on welfare for part of their lives! 76 percent of whites will experience such a situation by the age of 60!
15 percent of the American people, nearly 47 million of the population, are in poverty, with higher percentages of African Americans and Hispanic-Latinos, but in absolute numbers, whites are 41 percent or 19 million of the poor, double what African Americans are in numbers. Most of these poor whites live in Appalachia, the industrial Midwest, and the heartland of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and the Great Plains, areas of rural communities , and even in many suburbs, in areas where 60 percent of the poor are whites.
So working class whites, those without college degrees, are in a terrible state, unable to look forward to the accomplishment of the “American Dream”!
But the problem is that even those who have a college education are facing a horrible job market. Many are unemployed, while even more who are working, are underemployed, working part time, and also, many are working in jobs that do not require a college degree, so are wasting years trying to break in to the job market they planned for, but are unable to engage in, due to the Great Recession and its aftermath!
Additionally, it has been demonstrated that where one lives has a dramatic effect on climbing up the income ladder! Social mobility up the income ladder is MUCH harder in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, including such cities as Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis,. Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Columbus!
At the same time, social mobility and rising up the income ladder is best in the Northeast and the West, including New York, Boston, large areas of California and Minnesota, and Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Salt Lake City.
It is extremely disturbing that earlier studies of social mobility demonstrate that a smaller percentage of people escape childhood poverty in America than in Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan.
Affluent children tend to remain so, achieving a lot of success by as young as age 30, while children from poverty rarely see much improvement, and that is not just a race issue, as whites have the same results, based on how they were born, rich or poor!
The need to deal with social mobility and opportunity, for working class whites and minorities, are the agenda that Barack Obama is pursuing as he travels the nation, calling for an economic plan for the future, including improvements in education, infrastructure, new technologies, and environmental challenges to overcome climate change!
There is no more important agenda for the nation than the providing of economic opportunity, in a nation where the middle class has been decimated, from its high point, 40 years ago, in 1973!