This is a very interesting article from the Brookings Institute. Of course, it means that you have to (at least be willing to) acknowledge that not everything here is better than everywhere else in the world, which many Republicans seem constitutionally incapable of accepting...
Of course, they don’t provide any answers – they’re just working with statistics (and you know how reliable statistics are). But there’s some interesting stuff in here.
The five myths they discuss are:
1. Americans enjoy more economic opportunity than people in other countries.
2. In the United States, each generation does better than the past one.
3. Immigrant workers and the offshoring of jobs drive poverty and inequality in the United States.
4. If we want to increase opportunities for children, we should give their families more income.
5. We can fund new programs to boost opportunity by cutting waste and abuse in the federal budget.
Here are a few choice quotes (go to the site for the entire article):
If you are born into a middle-class family in the United States, you have a roughly even chance of moving up or down the ladder by the time you are an adult. But the story for low-income Americans is quite different; going from rags to riches in a generation is rare. Instead, if you are born poor, you are likely to stay that way. Only 35 percent of children in a family in the bottom fifth of the income scale will achieve middle-class status or better by the time they are adults; in contrast, 76 percent of children from the top fifth will be middle-class or higher as adults.
Of course money is a factor in upward mobility, but it isn't the only one; it may not even be the most important. Our research shows that if you want to avoid poverty and join the middle class in the United States, you need to complete high school (at a minimum), work full time and marry before you have children. If you do all three, your chances of being poor fall from 12 percent to 2 percent, and your chances of joining the middle class or above rise from 56 to 74 percent. (We define middle class as having an income of at least $50,000 a year for a family of three.)