Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

America: the Land of "Opportunity" not "Outcomes"

For some reason (okay, I'm no fool, it's a political reason) Americans have been arguing about opportunity in America for several generations. The latest shot fired is a study sponsored by the Center for American Progress trying to debunk the "rags to riches" story in America.

America may still think of itself as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

The likelihood that a child born into a poor family will make it into the top five percent is just one percent, according to "Understanding Mobility in America," a study by economist Tom Hertz from American University.

By contrast, a child born rich had a 22 percent chance of being rich as an adult, he said.

"In other words, the chances of getting rich are about 20 times higher if you are born rich than if you are born in a low-income family," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank sponsoring the work.

He also found the United States had one of the lowest levels of inter-generational mobility in the wealthy world, on a par with Britain but way behind most of Europe.
Never mind that the standard of living in America is one of the highest in the world. No, they must complain. This couldn't possibly be a result of the growing culture of the victim in America, where instead of getting off one's backside, increasing numbers of Americans choose to blame their problems on someone else and beg Congress to enact their economic success. But, that's not how America is supposed to work. As Benjamin Franklin once noted, "all the Constitution guarantees is the pursuit of happiness; you have to catch up with it yourself."

Oh, the CAP's web site says in a synopsis, "Households whose adult members all worked more than 40 hours per week for two years in a row were more upwardly mobile in 1990-91 and 1997-98 than households who worked fewer hours." Hmmm...perhaps they're onto something there.