Entries Tagged as 'upward mobility'

What Keeps the American Dream Alive?

December 16th, 2011 at 1:50 am 22 Comments

President Obama’s recent speech on income inequality and upward mobility has struck a chord with many Democrats. If the President keeps using this rhetoric, then it could become a central message of the 2012 campaign. If this happens, I would also bet that Elizabeth Warren will give the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention in 2012.

What’s interesting is that while there is growing awareness that America is a more unequal country, there is less awareness that America is also a less upwardly mobile society.

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How I’d Revive the Middle Class

David Frum December 12th, 2011 at 3:43 pm 52 Comments

“Easy for Me to Say” is a FrumForum feature series in which David Frum answers reader questions about political issues. Readers are invited to pose questions that take the form of: “OK – so what would you do instead of this or that politician you’ve criticized?”

Questions should be e-mailed to editor [at] frumforum.com with “Easy for Me to Say” in the subject line.

In my column for CNN, I discuss economic policies that can help the American middle class, in response to question about my column in The Week on the President’s Kansas speech:

Realistically, the president’s Kansas speech translates into a formula of higher taxes on the rich to pay for more spending on favored Democratic public-sector constituencies. But what about the much larger private-sector middle class? Does the president have anything to offer those people — aside from the promise of a bigger government that might hire somewhat more people to enjoy the superior retirement packages offered to government workers?

Short answer: No.

What would a serious plan to improve middle-class incomes and opportunities look like?

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British Conservatives Face the Future

November 15th, 2011 at 1:03 am 47 Comments

Anyone who gets drawn into the attempts to modernize the Republican Party inevitably ends up reading about the experiences of the UK and Canadian conservatives. The Canadian Conservatives went through many years in the wilderness before they eventually secured their current governing majority and the British Conservatives are also actively debating how to modernize their own party.

When an American reads the literature that these debates produce, diagnosis its impossible not to feel some longing for the discussion that is taking place in other countries.

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The Top 5% vs. The Next 25%

November 14th, 2011 at 1:34 am 42 Comments

Is there a relationship between inequality and mobility? Occupy Wall Street argues that there is one, which is why their message that they are the “99%” carries a dual meaning. They argue that disproportionate wealth is held by the top 1% and that there is no mobility into their ranks. But are these two ideas actually related?

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Upward Mobility: It’s a Race Thing

November 11th, 2011 at 1:06 pm 62 Comments

You don’t have to accept some of the anarchistic radicalism at Occupy Wall Street to admit that America is a country with high income inequality and low upward mobility. Some Conservatives have tried to obfuscate this reality but others are actually wrestling with it.

A recent issue of National Review is thankfully in this latter camp and has an essay by Scott Winship which goes over the research produced by the Pew Economic Mobility Project as well as recent work from the Brookings Institute.

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Downwardly Mobile America

November 7th, 2011 at 2:07 am 39 Comments

James Pethokoukis has posted a new chart on his blog as part of his ongoing commentary about income inequality in America. In this post, he argues that “alarmists” are wrong to worry about income inequality because America has a lot of upward economic mobility:

Turns out that the Tax Foundation has also looked at the economic mobility issue. Using IRS data, it found that about 60 percent of households that were in the lowest income quintile in 1999 were in a higher quintile in 2007.About 40 percent of households in the top quintile moved to a lower quintile over this 9 year period.

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Why the Rich Get Richer

October 27th, 2011 at 12:24 am 82 Comments

It is no secret to practitioners that in systems of capital finance, opportunity and the wealth that comes with it have a natural propensity over time to clump, sometimes without regard to extraordinary human talent or ability. In what is otherwise probably the world’s most efficient system of resource allocation, this propensity of capital finance is an historically acknowledged systemic flaw.

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Pew Shows the AFQT Matters

September 16th, 2011 at 3:05 pm 19 Comments

One of the notable findings from Pew’s new survey on economic mobility was that there is one test which does a very good of job of predicting economic mobility. That test is the military’s AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test).

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