Tag Archives: working class

Leveraging new data can help low-income students climb the economic ladder, writes Michael Lawrence Collins.


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The story we tell ourselves about upward income mobility is unraveling. The majority of respondents to a New America survey felt that it is harder than ever to attain a foundational element of the American dream, in which children earn more than their parents. But most respondents still believe another tenet of the American mobility narrative: that going to college creates upward mobility.

While it is true that college graduates do better in our economy than nongrads, earnings from different college degrees vary considerably. For low-income students in particular, not all college degrees are equally valuable. These and other recent […]

The Mobility Myth


Since at least the days of Horatio Alger, a cornerstone of American thinking has been the hope of social mobility—the idea that, as Lawrence Samuel put it in a history of the American dream, anyone can, “through dedication and with a can-do spirit, climb the ladder of success.” In recent years, though, plenty of Americans have come to believe that, as President Obama said in his State of the Union address, “upward mobility has stalled.” So it was a surprise recently when a team of economists from Harvard and Berkeley released a comprehensive study showing that mobility in the […]

The Hoarding of the American Dream

There’s a certain type of financial confessional that has had a way of going viral in the post-recession era. The University of Chicago law professor complaining his family was barely keeping their heads above water on $250,000 a year . This hypothetical family of three in San Francisco making $200,000, enjoying vacations to Maui, and living hand-to-mouth. This real New York couple making six figures and merely “ scraping by .”

In all of these viral posts, denizens of the upper-middle class were attempting to make the case for their middle class-ness. Taxes are expensive. Cities are expensive. Tuition is […]

Inequality Crisis: Blacks and Latinos on the Road to Zero Wealth

Home sale. (photo: AP)

Home sale. (photo: AP)
No savings, investments or home equity. This economic dystopia looms for minority families, and so does a choice: Do we want America to be more like Brazil or Canada? hat would U.S. society be like if a majority of families had no wealth – no savings, no home equity, no investments of any kind?

That is exactly where the country is headed if we continue on our current path toward economic dystopia for black and Latino families.
While we celebrate a modest reduction in poverty rates and an encouraging uptick in median income , as disclosed […]

Economic Nationalism : Sometimes the Angry Mob Has a Point


In the National Review, Darren Beattie wrote a strong, concise defense of economic nationalism . Economic nationalism is the loose definition for proposals that direct the federal government to set trade policies that support American industries and America’s industrial base. These days in the public consciousness, it is closely identified with President Donald Trump & Steve Bannon’s populist rhetoric and supporters, as well as the supporters of Bernie Sanders and other progressive Democrats. This is in stark contrast to the status quo, that’s in favor of “free markets”: slashed or eliminated regulations on multinational corporations and international trade.

The whole […]

Time to scrap the cruel injustice that is civil asset forfeiture


Income mobility in the United States has stagnated, a fact that hurts the poor most of all. If President Trump wishes to keep his promises to help low-income Americans escape poverty, he should instruct his administration to jettison, rather than expand, non-criminal asset forfeiture.

Non-criminal asset forfeiture lets government agents seize Americans’ assets (cash, but also cars and even houses) on the mere suspicion that they were involved in a crime. Asset forfeiture is intended to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains, but frequently enables police to take the property of Americans who remain innocent in the eyes of the […]

Inequality crisis: Blacks and Latinos on the road to zero wealth

636408365034009201-housing-prices.JPG

No savings, investments or home equity. This economic dystopia looms for minority families, and so does a choice: Do we want America to be more like Brazil or Canada?

What would U.S. society be like if a majority of families had no wealth – no savings, no home equity, no investments of any kind?

That is exactly where the country is headed if we continue on our current path toward economic dystopia for black and Latino families.While we celebrate a modest reduction in poverty rates and an encouraging uptick in median income , as disclosed in this week’s Census report, […]

The subtle ways colleges discriminate against poor students

A few years ago, hundreds of college administrators received a survey in the mail. It was designed to figure out what they believed it takes to succeed in college.

The survey listed 12 skills that colleges generally expect students to develop, but the administrators were asked to pick the five most important.

You can do the same exercise below:What the researchers didn’t tell the administrators is that half of these expectations represented independent norms, and the other half represented interdependent norms.And these administrators had a clear bias. (See how your biases compare by filling out the quiz above.)They had a bias […]

How Civil Asset Forfeiture Reduces Economic Mobility

How Civil Asset Forfeiture Reduces Economic Mobility

Income mobility in the United States has stagnated, a fact that hurts the poor most of all. If President Trump wishes to keep his promises to help low-income Americans escape poverty, he should instruct his administration to jettison, rather than expand, non-criminal asset forfeiture.

Non-criminal asset forfeiture lets government agents seize Americans’ assets (cash, but also cars and even houses) on the mere suspicion that they were involved in a crime. Asset forfeiture is intended to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains, but frequently enables police to take the property of Americans who remain innocent in the eyes of the […]

Understand rising inequality


Frederick Solt, Yue Hu, Kevan Hudson, Jungmin Song, and Dong Erico Yu (Iowa): Economic Inequality and Belief in Meritocracy in the United States . Andrew Granato: “$330,000 in financial aid bought me a slot in the American meritocracy . Now I see its flaws” — we’re creating the new American aristocracy. To understand rising inequality, consider the janitors at two top companies, then and now. Mona Chalabi and Amanda Holpuch on what that Google memo didn’t tell you about pay inequality in America. No one measure of inequality tells the whole story: Income, wealth, and consumption should be considered […]