Social Mobility

The Gap Between Rich And Poor Greatest It Has Ever Been!

President Barack Obama yesterday drew attention to the massive and growing gap between rich and poor., which has reached its greatest extent in American history, more than in many European democracies, Canada and Australia.

The middle class reached its greatest prosperity in 1973 during the administration of Richard Nixon, after the years of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, the fruition of the expansion of the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Since then, with the rise of conservatism under Ronald Reagan, and reaching its greatest abuses under George W. Bush, we have seen a stagnation in the economy which is shocking, to such a point that the top one percent now owns about 40 percent of all wealth, and the pay for CEOs of corporations has risen 725 percent, compared to workers and 5.7 percent growth in wages in the past four decades.

And yet, the Republican Party and conservatives are out to cut Food Stamps further; refuse to renew unemployment compensation; reject any increase in the minimum wage, which is down 35 percent in inflation adjusted value since 1968; and refuse to consider any increase in taxes on the wealthy at any time in the future!

At the same time, any thought of caring about the millions of people who had no health care, but are covered under ObamaCare , does not cross the minds of the right wing!

If people are forced into bankruptcy by medical bills, so be it is the attitude, and of course, the bankruptcy laws were made more difficult in recent years after the Great Recession of 2008 hit the nation!

And education, the major way for people to have social mobility, has been made more difficult too, and students are burdened with such debt from attending college that there is no hope ever to advance in economic status, while banks and corporations and their stockholders always know that they will be taken care of by Republicans, as they fight any regulation or accountability for bad behavior and reckless actions.

The future is extremely gloomy, unless one is from the top ten percent of the population, and the threat to democracy and social order is massive, if this situation of total deprivation of such a large portion of the population continues without any action or concern by Congress and the courts!

Economic Reality Grim For Most Americans, Whether Based On Race Or Education Level!

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!

Rick Santorum The Promoter of Class Warfare, Not Barack Obama!

Republicans have, on a regular basis, accused President Barack Obama of promoting “class warfare”, because he promotes the concept that the wealthy have been very fortunate, with the biggest tax cuts in history during the Bush and early Obama years, and must start to pay their fair share of taxes to help support the national commitments and responsibilities.

But actually, it is Rick Santorum, above all, who is promoting class warfare, by advocating an anti elitist view about the news media, colleges and universities, and liberals, blaming them for reporting what is going on, and promoting investigation of the mess created by the Bush Administration and the Republican Party during the years they controlled the national government, and advocating open inquiry and analysis and thinking, rather than accepting what we are told is the ultimate truth from a man who advocates religion in government, rather than separation of church and state.

Santorum is trying to organize blue collar whites who are not educated beyond high school and have a much higher unemployment rate against white collar workers and college educated people who have a much lower unemployment rate.

Instead of seeing that education is the road to success and the stable middle class, and despite the fact that Santorum himself has three college and university degrees and will certainly hope his own children will get a college education to advance themselves economically over a lifetime, Santorum calls educated people snobs, and Obama is blamed for promoting a better life for the future generation!

This campaign pitch of Santorum is promotion of resentment, anger, and against the role of education in attainment of life’s goals. It is sick, insane, destructive of social mobility for the future of the nation, and Santorum needs to be repudiated in a massive way by his party, but they seem unwilling to take him on, and they are therefore promoting further degradation of the middle and working classes by NOT advocating what Obama says is necessary for success–as much education as any young person can handle, rather than a drive to the bottom!

If the blue collar whites of the Midwest back Rick Santorum, they are guaranteeing their continued decline into poverty and degradation!

Santorum’s pitch is the closest to that of Pat Buchanan in 1992 and George Wallace in 1968, but he is more of a threat to be the standard bearer of a major political party, and this could, therefore, be a calamity in the making!

The Truth About The Safety Net: Full Of Holes And The Worst In The Developed World!

Mitt Romney claimed two days ago that we have a “safety net” for the very poor, and that, therefore, we don’t have to worry about them.

What a distortion of the truth, as we have the absolutely WORST “safety net” for the very poor in the developed world. It is not enough to say how fortunate our poor are as compared to Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America, as this is America!

Here are the facts:

The official US poverty rate is 15.1 percent, and it does not include the millions of the middle class who have been impoverished by the Great Recession and its aftermath.

One out of five children lives in dire poverty in America, and if one is born into that background, the odds of escaping it are far less likely than for other children.

Our Food Stamp program provides $1.44 per meal to each of its recipients.

Medicaid only covers the poorest children, of parents working at 63 percent of the poverty line, and 37 percent of non working parents. The new health care law would cover the gaps, but Romney endorses repealing it.

Only one in four poor renters get housing vouchers as assistance to pay the rent.

Supplemental Security Income helps the impoverished elderly and disabled, but only 27 percent of this group receives such welfare assistance, while in 1996, 68 percent received such aid. And SSI at its best only lifts those families to 75 percent of the poverty level.

Any person who wishes to be President should have the decency and the compassion to recognize that the “very poor” are not well treated in a society which believes in mobility, and that we MUST do better, and stop having conservatives and so called “religious” people continue to condemn and deplore the poor, and not give a damn about their ability to survive and advance in society, with a sense of dignity! This is a MORAL cause above all!

The Collapse Of The Middle Class: Threat To American Stability

Growing income inequality is turning many middle class neighborhoods into slums or ghettos, as poverty spreads rapidly, accelerated by the Great Recession, which began in 2008.

A Stanford University study demonstrates this reality: In 2007, only 44 percent of families lived in middle class neighborhoods, down from 65 percent in 1970. And one third of families lived in neighborhoods of affluence or poverty, up from just 15 percent in 1970.

The affluent are being segregated from the declining middle class, and becoming less willing to support broad based schools, parks, and public transportation projects that benefit the general public. Fourteen percent of families now live in affluent neighborhoods, compared to seven percent in 1970.

The effects of the growth of poverty is that children from poverty backgrounds have less access to quality education and support networks to encourage accomplishment and work goals.

This reality is showing up in educational accomplishments, as the standardized test scores now show a gap of 40 percent, a bigger gap than four decades ago. And college completion of children from high income families is more than half the population, up about one third from twenty years ago, and less than ten percent among low income families, up from five percent.

As everyone should know, education is the bridge to success and social mobility, so this Stanford study is extremely troubling for the long run of social stability in America.

This is one of the major reasons for the Occupy Wall Street movement, as it is manifesting itself, not only in New York City but all across the nation.