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How the upper middle class keeps keeps everyone else out


HARI SREENIVASAN: Scholar Richard Reeves believes the United States is in need of some self-reflection about income inequality.

RICHARD REEVES: I think America doesn’t want to have a conversation about class because it is uncomfortable with it.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Reeves is a co-director of the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families. His new book, “Dream Hoarders,” argues that while the top one percent of america’s wealthy receive so much attention, the more significant divide is between the top 20 percent and everyone else struggling to achieve the American dream. HARI SREENIVASAN: Reeves suggests the advantages of those at […]

Location of WWII internment camp linked to long-term economic inequality


Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 drew the United States into World War II and spawned a massive wave of shock and fear across the country. It also prompted the U.S. government to round up and send more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

Scholars have long studied this dark chapter in American history and its denial of basic freedoms, but until recently little was known about the long-term economic effects on the lives of the people who were interned, their businesses, homes, and possessions hastily left behind.

Harvard economist Daniel Shoag and Nicholas Carollo, a Ph.D. candidate in economics […]

Where the American Dream Lives and Dies


Rags-to-riches stories , like Benjamin Franklin’s , have always captured the American imagination. They feed the narrative of the American Dream—that from humble beginnings, a scrappy, hardworking person can become prosperous, and afford opportunities his or her parents did not have. Through booms and recessions, people have bought into this myth .

The problem is: The American Dream lives and dies at the local level. Stanford* economist Raj Chetty has shown that conditions in our neighborhoods are really what shape our ability to escape poverty and determine if we will fare better than our parents. A new analysis by the […]

A New Democratic Slogan? Your Choices


Young Jerks A common theme was clear as readers offered more than 1,200 alternatives to the Democrats’ new slogan, “A Better Deal”: The party needs to offer a positive, inclusive, empathetic message. Variations of “We the People” and “The Real Deal” were especially popular.

Democratic leaders, are you listening?

“We’re With You: We’re Democrats” We’ve got to identify with the voters and show empathy. And we’ve got to shake off the label “elitist.” We, too, work, pay our bills, worship, love our families and respect the Constitution. The slogan is upbeat and rings true to our history […]

First interned, then left behind

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Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 drew the United States into World War II and spawned a massive wave of shock and fear across the country. It also prompted the U.S. government to round up and send more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps.

Scholars have long studied this dark chapter in American history and its denial of basic freedoms, but until recently little was known about the long-term economic effects on the lives of the people who were interned, their businesses, homes, and possessions hastily left behind.

Harvard economist Daniel Shoag and Nicholas Carollo, a Ph.D. candidate in economics […]

How Regulations Impede Economic Mobility

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Why are Americans less likely to move to better opportunities than they used to be? The Wall Street Journal reports : When opportunity dwindles, a natural response—the traditional American instinct—is to strike out for greener pastures. Migrations of the young, ambitious and able-bodied prompted the Dust Bowl exodus to California in the 1930s and the reverse migration of blacks from Northern cities to the South starting in the 1980s. Yet the overall mobility of the U.S. population is at its lowest level since measurements were first taken at the end of World War II, falling by almost half […]

Trump is right: Americans need to move where the jobs are


In this Jan. 28, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Trump said something last week that deserves a lot more attention. Americans “are going to have to start moving," Trump said in his interview with The Wall Street Journal (Politico leaked the full transcript of the exchange this week).

He’s right.

Americans aren’t packing up and moving like they used to. Mobility is at an all-time low , according to the Census Bureau, which has […]

The myth of the American Dream

economic mobility

The American Dream is supposed to mean that through hard work and perseverance, even the poorest people can make it to middle class or above. But it’s actually harder to move up in America than it is in most other advanced nations.

It’s easier to rise above the class you’re born into in countries like Japan, Germany, Australia, and the Scandinavian nations, according to research from University of Ottawa economist and current Russell Sage Foundation Fellow Miles Corak.

Among the major developed countries, only in Italy and the United Kingdom is there less economic mobility, according to Corak.The research measures […]

Race gaps in SAT scores highlight inequality and hinder upward mobility

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Taking the SAT is an American rite of passage. Along with the increasingly popular ACT, the SAT is critical in identifying student readiness for college and as an important gateway to higher education. Yet despite efforts to equalize academic opportunity, large racial gaps in SAT scores persist. The great score divide

The SAT provides a measure of academic inequality at the end of secondary schooling. Moreover, insofar as SAT scores predict student success in college, inequalities in the SAT score distribution reflect and reinforce racial inequalities across generations.

In this paper, we analyze racial differences in the math section […]

This Is the Wrong Way to Fight Inequality


So first, the good news: The notion that income inequality has caused harm in America has finally broken into the hubs of elite opinion. The sort of socio-political tastemaker who not so long ago denied the problem, has moved on to dissembling about it instead. That’s progress, of a sort. DREAM HOARDERS: HOW THE AMERICAN UPPER MIDDLE CLASS IS LEAVING EVERYONE ELSE IN THE DUST, WHY THAT IS A PROBLEM, AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT by Richard ReevesBrookings Institution Press, 240 pp., $24.00 Dream Hoarders, a book by Brookings senior fellow Richard Reeves, is the latest entry into […]