Marco Rubio delivered a stirring testament to the American dream in his CPAC speech.
But in his efforts to claim that the United States was the only place on earth where people could rise from poverty, he plunged into enthusiastic overstatement. The sad fact is that as best we can measure, present-day America offers less upward mobility than many other advanced countries, including Denmark, Germany, Canada and Australia. In fact, among all OECD countries, the U.S. lags toward the back of the pack, barely ahead of supposedly class-bound Britain.
This information should not be shocking to conservatives. After all, it is conservatives who most emphasize the poor quality of U.S. schools and who have delivered the sharpest warnings about immigration policies that favor low-skilled immigrants.
And yet when it comes time to make speeches, we forget what we know. How can you solve problems if you won’t notice them – or can’t remember them even if you do notice them?