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Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Posted by WxDano none (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 10:26

...Americans are coming to realize that their cherished narrative of social and economic mobility is a myth. ... Without substantial policy changes, our self-image, and the image we project to the world, will diminish...

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Equal Opportunity, Our National Myth
By JOSEPH STIGLITZ

The Great Divide
February 16, 2013

...Today, the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country. Study after study has exposed the myth that America is a land of opportunity. This is especially tragic: While Americans may differ on the desirability of equality of outcomes, there is near-universal consensus that inequality of opportunity is indefensible. The Pew Research Center has found that some 90 percent of Americans believe that the government should do everything it can to ensure equality of opportunity.

Perhaps a hundred years ago, America might have rightly claimed to have been the land of opportunity, or at least a land where there was more opportunity than elsewhere. But not for at least a quarter of a century. Horatio Alger-style rags-to-riches stories were not a deliberate hoax, but given how they’ve lulled us into a sense of complacency, they might as well have been.

It’s not that social mobility is impossible, but that the upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity. According to research from the Brookings Institution, only 58 percent of Americans born into the bottom fifth of income earners move out of that category, and just 6 percent born into the bottom fifth move into the top. Economic mobility in the United States is lower than in most of Europe and lower than in all of Scandinavia.

Another way of looking at equality of opportunity is to ask to what extent the life chances of a child are dependent on the education and income of his parents. Is it just as likely that a child of poor or poorly educated parents gets a good education and rises to the middle class as someone born to middle-class parents with college degrees? Even in a more egalitarian society, the answer would be no. But the life prospects of an American are more dependent on the income and education of his parents than in almost any other advanced country for which there is data.

How do we explain this? Some of it has to do with persistent discrimination. Latinos and African-Americans still get paid less than whites, and women still get paid less than men, even though they recently surpassed men in the number of advanced degrees they obtain. Though gender disparities in the workplace are less than they once were, there is still a glass ceiling: women are sorely underrepresented in top corporate positions and constitute a minuscule fraction of C.E.O.’s.

Discrimination, however, is only a small part of the picture. Probably the most important reason for lack of equality of opportunity is education: both its quantity and quality...

Murrican Exceptionalism exists only in the mind.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I'm nearing the poor bracket and even then, I disagree with the above. If the majority (and 58% is a majority) of the bottom economic levels move up, then there is opportunity not a guarantee.

Yes, there is still discrmination with regard to gender and race, but the gap is closing. And will continue to close, highly likely. I suffer from that gender thing and I wish it was better, but it's unlikely to happen in my lifetime.

I do think many find opportunity equals possession. It's not that I want to be poor or for anyone else to be poor, but we are only offered the ability to move. Education is out there. Scholarships exist and if not, loans are available. Not that anyone wants to start out in debt, but university is available. Too many times, people drop out of school before even hitting university. But even then, the high school dropout rate is dropping.

We need to keep in mind these issues are very new to having solutions. It takes time. But to say opportunity doesn't exist, it's just not true.

HIGH SCHOOL DROP OUT RATE BY RACE

Here is a link that might be useful: where the graph came from


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

It's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory!
The stats say most new businesses fail.
I've listened to endless stories of people with business plans & a dream plowing life savings into businesses that went belly up in the first year or 2.

"According to the US Small Business Administration small businesses contribute 39% of the gross national product, create two thirds of our country's new jobs and are responsible for more than half the nation's technological inventions. Impact of a small business may be small, but as a group small businesses are one of the largest influences on the world economy."
This can be deceptive as it;s been pointed out again & again a lot of very large companies are considered small businesses (Price Waterhouse Coopers, Bechtel, The Chicago Tribune) all small businesses.

The steady decline of middle class income for the past 20 years make that clime a reality game show where a number of winners stories get told & retold as proof positive "YOU TOO CAN BE a MILLIONAIRE"


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

But to say opportunity doesn't exist, it's just not true.

Of course that wasn't the argument. The argument was It’s not that social mobility is impossible, but that the upwardly mobile American is becoming a statistical oddity. But never mind that error. We can haz pitchers:


Source


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Oh I don't disagree the gap is getting wider with a lessening middle-class, but I do think it's a corporate thing. And Congress is exacerbating the problem for us rather than mitigating it. They have the power, but not the gumption.

This post was edited by rob333 on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 11:04


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Congress has been bought by the same people whose earnings are increasing at the expense of everyone else.

Congress won't step in to stop the upward transfer of wealth - they are enabling it. That's how it works.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

But to say opportunity doesn't exist . . .

Nobody said opportunity doesn't exist. You made that up. What the first sentence of the article says is:
the United States has less equality of opportunity than almost any other advanced industrial country.

That is not an all or nothing statement, but a statement of degrees--very different meaning as a result.

American has a long history of bragging "we're #1"--but it turns out that we don't rank as high on the equal opportunity scale as we like to believe.

"We" meaning Americans in general. For myself, I definitely agree that "we" rank much further down in a number of areas in which "we" like to brag that "we are exceptional" and all the rest of the world envies us--when in fact some of those places around the globe are actually doing a much better job in a number of respects than "we" are.

Kate


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

From the article: "In some cases it seems as if policy has actually been designed to reduce opportunity: government support for many state schools has been steadily gutted over the last few decades " and especially in the last few years. Meanwhile, students are crushed by giant student loan debts that are almost impossible to discharge, even in bankruptcy. This is happening at the same time that a college education is more important than ever for getting a good job".

and

"Finally, it is unconscionable that a rich country like the United States has made access to higher education so difficult for those at the bottom and middle. There are many alternative ways of providing universal access to higher education, from Australia’s income-contingent loan program to the near-free system of universities in Europe. A more educated population yields greater innovation, a robust economy and higher incomes - which mean a higher tax base. Those benefits are, of course, why we’ve long been committed to free public education through 12th grade. But while a 12th-grade education might have sufficed a century ago, it doesn’t today. Yet we haven’t adjusted our system to contemporary realities."

I have three family members currently enrolled in under-grad and grad school. I don't think a lot of people even realize how hard, and what kind of parental / institutional / financial support it takes to get a kid to (1) apply and (2) be accepted into good under-grad schools - let alone (3) grad school. So we '52ers think we're on top of the game, but then .... find that their fellow students families had hired private tutors for the assorted exams, pay for courses in how to do well on the MCATS and GRE's, professional editors for their essays, etc. IOW, its a whole other league when you start competing in the upper sphere.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I also agree there are degrees of opportunity. I think they're greater than ever before. I also think they continue to be a tenet of every American's view our country. But let's not confuse ability to obtain a goal and the reaching the goal. Those are very different. I see the glass as half full. Was merely my point. Do you disagree that we've made strides Kate? Or that it will take more time? Or were you making a different point?

David, I totally agree on the upper sphere part. But I also see the difference in the student in lower grade levels. The kids at my son's school are treating studies like I did when I went to university.... and university in 2009 was nothing like it was in 1987. Nothing. The students in today's class, well, they all had laptops and were typing, recording, looking things up... all at once. We surely didn't do that. They have so many more tools than we did in the 80s. And what it'll be in another score of years is mind-boggling!!! I can't believe I am already having to dust off the skills I learned the last couple of years of high school for a seventh grader. Dumbfounded. It's almost as amazing as talking to someone on the other side of the country or world-instantly. What can I say? I am getting old.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Well, this is the crux of great political divide. "Conservatives" continue to believe that this and remains is the country of greatest opportunity and social/economical advancement. Because they made it, and look here at these examples of Dr Carson etc. who also made it. Statistically, they like to look at figures of total, nationwide individual wealth and income, which still look pretty good.

While "Progressives" break down those figures and statistics a bit further. They also dwell on the barriers that now exist - and as this OP clearly states, the biggest now is education - its far from equitable all the way from pre-school through college.

The classic is the figure below. Add up the first column and divide by # households, things look ok. A few mega-billionaires average out with the tens of millions below the poverty line. But divide it up by 20th percentiles, and there ya go.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Since you think the strides aren't being made (or that they take time?) what do think is the reason David? Have they all been removed and education is the one lacking (which is how I read your comment? I think)? I really truly think corporations (who are not people! they are hoarders though!) are interferring with economic growth and opportunities. Do you find education to be the single most important factor? If so, do you not think the lower dropout rate isn't important? I think the quality of education is varies greatly. And it's harder to quantify. Does it factor in also? Where and how?

I still love that graph. It says it all.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Dunno if I understand you question, rob333. In my current experience, I'm actually dealing with the barriers to a good education that the article talks about. I've posted numerous times about the continual cuts to spending at my kids K-12 school district, how that makes it increasingly difficult for them to be competitive when applying to universities, and when they get there, work they need to do to get up to speed, the loans they have to take out, the part time jobs they work, and so on.

Then there is the money - look at the difference between the options and opportunities such as un-paid internships that someone who has to work immediately after college to repay loans, versus the people who don't - my DW is now working with an MD/PhD who has never had to take out a student loan in his life - under-grad, medical school, then a research PhD after that. Thats hundreds of thousands of dollars his family could afford, along with the tutors, test prep, private courses, etc. that helped along the way. And he can't understand how the options and opportunities he had aren't open to someone who needs to repay student loans.

And in today's economy, where all the capital is busy somewhere in cyberland betting on futures and derivatives instead of the actual, physical economy building roads, factories, doing research, etc. there aren't very many jobs for the new graduates to enter into.

It costs between $20,000 - $35,000 a year to go to a state university. Any private college/university is well north of that, circa $50,000 a year. Good luck with that.

As for all the people saying, well, you can go to a community college and work part-time and so on, well there are some success stories there. And an awful lot of not very successful stories.

I was glad to hear that President Obama was going to release a "college grade thing" where students can go see their best bang for the buck.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

We know many in the lower classes that can move up, but won't as they don't have the work ethic, education, skills, knowledge and budgeting, spending, saving, investment discipline.

As a teenager, I had more of an inflation adjusted net worth than many two income adult households have these days.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 12:28

Oh, please...not that cr*p about the lower classes. That is so elitist, and so wrong. But it is a good example of the code words the GOP uses in their racist ideology.

It's very easy to move down, much harder to move up, and getting harder. I suspect our children and grandchildren (and many of us) will not be as well off as our parents.

This Bush recession will have repercussions for many generations to come.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

That is so elitist, and so wrong. But it is a good example of the code words the GOP uses in their racist ideology.

But so useful as indicators. Don't discourage them from making it easier to identify them!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I've heard this story numerous times! Bully for you it's not typical! Like those skin cream age defying ads. Results not typical in the fine print.
I can assume anyone who has managed to scrape together A million to open a pharmacy & run it for 10 years working 6 days a week 10 hour days with his wife & children should be on easy street according to the formula. Our local pharmacy is considering closing. I have known the own since his first job as a pharmacist & his wife. They worked like dogs & at every turn have had landlords gouge the rents. Even with celebrity clientele it's impossible to compete with the chains that have stores literally every 8 blocks in the area. Chains that would offer to give him money to disappear.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Thank you David. Much food for thought. I agree with all you've said. Yes, you've understood my question, and my unstated question. But really, how can this block be changed? That answer seems more elusive than ever before. Because, even if one has a (any!) university education that certainly doesn't guarantee a job. It seems the glass ceiling continues on its upward spiral.

__________________________________________
I do think I need to clarify one point. Giving the measures "time" to equalize things. I think in relation to mankind and modern history, a few decades are minor in seeing the changes implemented as to whether or not they are working. It was only 109 or so years that children were barred from having jobs. It's only been 96 years since children were required to attend school in a compulsory manner. It wasn't until 61 years ago black were allowed into maintream schools and another decade before it actually happened. There is still no standard curriculum and electives vary greatly from state to state. We're relatively new at the education game. Mankind that is. It's only been a "few years" at getting everyone on equal footing. Let's keep trying! I'm not saying it is equal. We want equal? Quit paying the state/local/county taxes and move it to federal where it goes into one pot and ALL schools get their share. Not gonna happen? Then we will continue to be leaps and bounds apart in "equality".


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

If you think you can't do something, or don't have the discipline to do something whether it's dieting, working out, working harder/smarter, or saving investing etc you'll likely fail.

The long term success rate of moving up a class or two is likely similar to the long term success rates of diet and exercise programs which is extremely low.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Markjames is the exception - and times change as well. What we did, its pretty difficult to repeat it these days.

When I graduated from college, I had 4 job offers. I joined the Peace Corps, then worked 30 years with I dunno what, 10 different employers, never had to spend more than 6 months between jobs - and part of that was intentional to take a vacation. What I did was getting pretty specialized and needed months to set up anyway, with work visas, permits, and the rest. My siblings also had no trouble finding jobs right out of school

- But then about 5 years before the Great Bush Recession, their careers were already disappearing due to outsourcing and greed - hire younger, cheaper people and fire the expensive people. All of our incomes collapsed with the recession, that ain't coming back, and what was possible for our parents is impossible now.

My parents put 4 kids through private colleges in the early 1970's. One year there were 3 kids going at once. Two of us never had any scholarships or loans, two had 1/2 scholarships, no loans. They were able to do that because the colleges were affordable with a distinctly middle class income. Try that now.

This post was edited by david52 on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 13:00


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I am trying, Dave. It isn't very doable.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"We know many in the lower classes that can move up, but won't as they don't have the work ethic, education, skills, knowledge and budgeting, spending, saving, investment discipline."

I consider this statement to be insulting and derogatory to those in the "lower classes". Most people who are by definition considered to be in the lower classes are hard-working and at the end of the day don't have the time or energy to get the education necessary to "move up". They are working their butts off just to put food on the table and clothe their children and put a roof over their heads.

And just what does moving up mean anyway? Climbing the corporate ladder, owning two cars, owning a bigger home, wearing designer-label clothing....? I suspect we all have a different definition. For some it may be as simple as being able to afford a one-week camping trip and funding their child's 6-month diploma course in something after high school. That for them may be moving up.

I think the original Land of Opportunity came about with the influx of immigrants in the 1800's from Europe. The incremental increases of improving your lot in life were larger than they are now and if you believe the pundits our children will be worse off financially than we are. My children however, have no wish to work as hard as their father did, they have no desire to work 80 hours a week in order to climb the corporate ladder and make a boat load of money but never take the time to do volunteer work or to play.

So back to my question - what does moving up actually mean?

OT - david52 - "professional editors for their essays, etc." According to my kids college handbooks this comes under the definition of plagiarism.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

My late father used to have some very wealthy business contacts. They would make money, lose it all, make it again. All about the network and whether banks will loan you money.

One of my business projects right now won't make banks any money, so my search is much, much harder for capital.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I'd live well simply saving/investing the money many low income individuals and households spend on non necessities - cigarettes, beer, liquor, pot, lottery tickets, scratch-offs, cable, upper tier broadband, cell phones, pre-paid minutes, gaming consoles, games, movies, electronics, entertainment, pets/maintenance, restaurant meals, take-out, delivery, tattoos, tanning, designer clothing/footwear, jewelry, vehicle/appliance/electronics/furniture financing - too much to list.

We have a growing renter culture that will really never own much of value. Most of their money will be spent on rent, services and depreciating or disposable assets.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"We have a growing renter culture that will really never own much of value. Most of their money will be spent on rent, services and depreciating or disposable assets."

And I think that is fine--if it is their choice. It's when it's not their choice, and they have no way out of it, that's when action should be taken.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Sorry I didn't get back to the conversation more quickly. Had a prolonged power outage here--windy cold weather approaching!

Most of what I might have said probably has been said by someone earlier in this thread, so let me just add one historical note.

The whole "myth" of America, the land of opportunity was based on a simple pre-20th century FACT: FREE LAND. Until 1893 when the census revealed that there was no more free land available, all anyone had to do was pack up the covered wagon, travel to the open lands further west, plow as much land as you and your oxen could manage, and that land was now YOUR LAND. Wow, talk about free opportunity!

Unless of course you were the Native Americans that had to be slaughtered and herded onto reservations on undesirable land that no one wanted even if it were free.

But aside from that temporary obstacle, no country in modern times has had such a deal to offer the poor, the overburdened, the immigrant--everybody who wasn't indigenous.

That's where the land of opportunity myth came from--but as I said, since 1893 when they discovered the free land was all claimed, America has never again been the land of opportunity that the 19th century offered.

But for some reason, "we" keep on claiming it still is--despite the contrary evidence.

Kate


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I'm not seeing reference to inherited wealth in these discussions. If the wealthy don't want to eliminate a middle class and live with armed guards behind concertina wire-topped walls, they will pay higher taxes to improve the national standard of living. They (we) will pay for infrastructure -- including a higher standard of education in the nation.

Head-start programs will have little impact on kids who go home to Dropouts from Life, living on welfare and drugs. (The HBO production "The Wire" provides an accurate picture, according to my DIL, who taught 8th Grade in Englewood in Chicago.) We could re-direct child welfare money to public boarding schools that offer more than just schooling. Caring parents might welcome better opportunities for their children. Fewer young women might see motherhood (welfare) as a means of living.

Charter schools have no better success than public schools when they are prohibited from cherry picking motivated pupils. They are *businesses* that expect to make a profit. There's a lesson from higher education to be applied.

rob333 is correct about the accelerated pace in schools today. I think it is ridiculous to believe so many people require 'college' to have useful employment and earn a good living. I'd like to see the high school diploma return to being meaningful -- good enough for most jobs. Only then would I encourage more public funding to send a smaller percentage of HS graduates to college and beyond.

The current situation is only good for colleges. It devalues HS except as a qualifier to *purchase* an expensive BS -- with private or public funds. That isn't even enough now. You need an MS or doctorate!

Maybe after spending all but the first two years of your life in schools, you just don't want to leave. OK, you can teach -- but only with advanced degrees will you make a living. Join the endless circle!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"We have a growing renter culture that will really never own much of value. Most of their money will be spent on rent, services and depreciating or disposable assets."

And I think that is fine--if it is their choice. It's when it's not their choice, and they have no way out of it, that's when action should be taken.

The vast majority of my tenants are renters by choice. They just don't want the responsibilities/liabilities of home ownership including maintenance, repairs, mortgage, water/sewer, insurance, property taxes etc.

High property taxes alone have made renting more attractive to many.

These days many workers have to relocate frequently to find/keep well paying jobs, so they don't want to be stuck with a home they can't sell.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

We don't have free land, however I've bought a lot of cheap land via tax auctions, foreclosures and distressed sales. After subdividing and reselling much of it was free.

What holds many people back isn't the lack of cheap land, but rules, regulations, codes, zoning laws, deed restrictions, property taxes, legal costs, material/fuel/labor inflation ... too much to list.


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What is being missed here by most of you is that other countries are doing a much better job of preparing their young citizens for the world market-they dont talk about investing in their kids-they actually just invest in their kids-as a culture, as a society, as a whole and have the good results to prove that it is a winning strategy.

It is Demi I think who is so insistent that anyone can excel in america because eveyone has equal access to education but no one can actually support the notion that the schooling offered to the poor kid in the crappy neighborhood in anyway compares to the well staffed well maintained lux schools of the wealthy neighborhoods-and there is college. Community colleges no matter how good are not going to compare to two years at Princeton and if the CC is anything like our local school it doesnt even compare to a good highschool. Try going to the job market with that.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I dunno, I've met plenty of people who have little work ethic, although it's not exclusive to the lower class by any means.

For me, moving up is defined by having a net worth that generally increases over time. This can be done by "striking it rich" or more likely by putting small amounts away for long periods of time, regardless of a person's class. This requires a lot of patience and discipline.

Personally I couldn't care less about toys, trinkets, clothing, and pretty much all material items, especially those that depreciate in value over time like cars and jewelry (I drive a 14 year old Suburu and would never buy expensive jewelry). I do not collect anything, and am sentimental about only a few cheap items that were been owned by a grandparent or parent. But I am attentive to those investments that tend to appreciate in value over time - like real estate and securities.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Much of this assumes that people start out in one group and stay there for the duration of their lives. Do the groups consist of people who start at the bottom and stay there forever? Or do people in those groups move into and out of other groups over time?

At any given point in time there are new people entering the earnings arena and old people leaving the earnings arena. Young people don't have much in assets when they start out and they start earning at a wage that reflects their inexperience. Wages and accumulated assets increase over time.

Older people reduce their wages (and raid their assets) when they retire.

The numbers need some context and demographics are important. If 90% of the bottom quintile never leave that quintile, that's a much different picture than if only 10 or 20% of the bottom quintile stay there until they retire.

In 2012 any household making circa $89,000/year in income is in the top 20%. That's a pretty wide range - $89,000 to untold billions of dollars. The $89,000 is low and it's probably attributable to the recession. At other times it seems to hover around $100K. But, I bet people trip into the top 20% all the time, even if they just hover at the bottom edge of it, especially once they have reached their high earning years shortly before they retire.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

blfenton - OT - david52 - "professional editors for their essays, etc." According to my kids college handbooks this comes under the definition of plagiarism.

At the link is a short article about all the essay "coaching" businesses out there.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Americans are coming to realize that their cherished narrative of social and economic mobility is a myth

No it's not. I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I spit that sucker out, and went right down the tubes in a hurry! Since then, I've done a pretty good job of making my OWN way. So I've been mobile in BOTH directions.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Much of this assumes that people start out in one group and stay there for the duration of their lives. Do the groups consist of people who start at the bottom and stay there forever? Or do people in those groups move into and out of other groups over time?

At any given point in time there are new people entering the earnings arena and old people leaving the earnings arena. Young people don't have much in assets when they start out and they start earning at a wage that reflects their inexperience. Wages and accumulated assets increase over time.

Much ado was made by the R faithful several years ago, when a St Louis Fed essay came out that talked about economic mobility. All the faithful's arguments sounded just like the italicized and they proudly and confidently pointed to the STL Fed essay to prove their point that Murrican Exceptionalism was alive and well - America F Yeah!.

Until about 2 days later folks pointed out the flaws in the essay. That does not stop the zombie myths from continuing to walk among us as important talking points, however.

At any rate, the essay in the OP explains the issues.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

In 2012 any household making circa $89,000/year in income is in the top 20%. That's a pretty wide range - $89,000 to untold billions of dollars. The $89,000 is low and it's probably attributable to the recession. At other times it seems to hover around $100K. But, I bet people trip into the top 20% all the time, even if they just hover at the bottom edge of it, especially once they have reached their high earning years shortly before they retire.

From all accounts, the "recovery" from the Great Bush Recession landed on the top 20%, if not the top 10%, while the rest, ie the lower 80%, hasn't seen much of it.

And I would think that the most telling factor about wealth distribution and upward mobility is that a household income of around $90,000 puts you in the top quintile in the country. Ouch. Thats two incomes of $45,000. Pay for health insurance, taxes, mortgage, and then college for your 2-3 kids with that.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 15:59

Income range for the middle class - there's quite a wide span.

Middle class in the U.S. can mean something very different depending on where you call your home state.

Census bureau numbers show a shocking disparity in the definition of 'middle income' - with Maryland boasting an average of $67,469 and Mississippi posting an appallingly low $39,078, a difference of $28,391.

I'm clearly not in the middle class any more, though I would be if I was in Kansas. Guess it's time to join Dorothy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"And I would think that the most telling factor about wealth distribution and upward mobility is that a household income of around $90,000 puts you in the top quintile in the country. Ouch. Thats two incomes of $45,000. Pay for health insurance, taxes, mortgage, and then college for your 2-3 kids with that."

Yeah, I was surprised by that too. I don't disagree with you.

"Much ado was made by the R faithful several years ago, when a St Louis Fed essay came out that talked about economic mobility. All the faithful's arguments sounded just like the italicized and they proudly and confidently pointed to the STL Fed essay to prove their point that Murrican Exceptionalism was alive and well - America F Yeah!."

Since populations consist of people, it is important to know the constituents of a population, how/if they move, and how much they move.

It's a big problem if the vast majority of people start out at the bottom and stay there. Not so much of a problem if that is largely a transient group, such as part-timers, young and inexperienced people, first-time employed, retirees from higher brackets, etc. There is a difference. We can't assume that everyone who is in that group started there and stayed there for 40 years.

However, if those same people are not moving up at some point, it's a problem.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Opportunity is lesser, and while there is an upward mobility, it's in fewer hands. That much is obvious... unless you own the hands that opportunity is pouring into.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Except in cases of nepotism, there are NO hands that opportunity is "pouring" into. Opportunity comes to each of us. It's just a matter of making the most THAT YOU CAN of each opportunity given you. That's not to say you CAN take advantage of every opportunity. Even in my own life, I've seen many that I've had to let go by, because I wasn't in a position to take advantage of them. But those I CAN, I DO, and so should anyone else. The ones I feel bad for are those who've tried and tried for so long, and every time they've taken a chance, they've been knocked back down, so that they just stop trying. But just because there are some who fit that description, doesn't mean that there's no socio-economic mobility. Nevermind me-- I'm small change. Look at people like Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs. You think either of them were born to money? Or maybe Mark Zuckerberg.... and those are just a few examples. Sorry Dano, but you and your author are all washed up.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Gates was born to pretty substantial money.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

here are NO hands that opportunity is "pouring" into.

Oh, look: Conservative Bubble Syndrome.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

So, the reason that so very few people these days have been unable to make it "up" into the top 1/5th - where "success" is two salaries of $45,000 per household, means that 80% of the population is just - what - too lazy?

All 80% of the rest of us, thats 256,000,000 Americans, can't see opportunity when it shows up?

Are 80% of the people you know lazy, won't take a chance, can't work hard? Thats 4 out of 5. Can't manage to claw their way up to that top "upper class" that makes $45,000 a year, along with your spouse?

Or maybe something else is going on.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Well, statistically Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the UK, and the Netherlands have greater social mobility than the US.

I guess it must be because they all make better decisions, work harder, seize opportunities, and so on - while we don't.

At the link, scroll down to the bar graphs, and you can plug in what happens if your parents are in the top 20% or lowest 20% by country.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Every year the myth is maintained every year the gap grows wider.
During the beginning of the last recession when the yahoos were denying we were in recession already. I was told on this forum "we never had it so good"
I'm still laughing.
Networking is still one of the primary means of connecting for unemployment.
How else can the opportunities crowd explain the continuing broad spectrum downward spiral of the middle class? Sunspots!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Or maybe something else is going on.

Those in the conservative bubble won't see what is going on though.

How do we wrest control from the multinational corporations hoarding the money to take our country back?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

How do we wrest control from the multinational corporations hoarding the money to take our country back?

To begin with, we quit giving corporate tax benefits when companies close down a factory here, dismantle it, and ship the whole thing abroad, firing hundreds of workers.

Well, I have to tip my hat to Bill if he makes over $90,000 a year laying tile. :-)


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

How do we wrest control from the multinational corporations hoarding the money to take our country back?

A) protest their U.S. based offices with OWS "troops"

B) boycott their products

C) Cry, complain, stomp your feet and hold your breath about it

D) COMPETE IN THEIR MARKETS WITH A BETTER PRODUCT AT A COMPETITIVE PRICE

Well, I have to tip my hat to Bill if he makes over $90,000 a year laying tile.

Not yet. I DID in 04-07, and I'll be back there again, and past it, most likely this year.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

To begin with, we quit giving corporate tax benefits when companies close down a factory here, dismantle it, and ship the whole thing abroad, firing hundreds of workers.

But the corporations buy the lawmakers to make such law, then buy subsequent lawmakers to ensure these laws don't get repealed.

And send buses around to pick up old white people and ship them around to make it look like there is a groundswell of anger against anti-corporate action...


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Bill Gates was supposedly born with a million dollar trust fund set up by his grandfather. He was born upper class and then moved up to filthy rich! I consider him a crook, because he made some if not most of his money illegally, as Microsoft was found guilty of violating antitrust laws in Federal court in 1999.

Those "Top 1%" red lines in Wxdano's charts above are disgusting. Appalling how they've spiked in both the Clinton and GWB years.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Not yet. I DID in 04-07, and I'll be back there again, and past it, most likely this year.

So, how's the view up there with the top 20% of the income earners? When you realize that 80% of households in America earn less than you do.

I dunno - before I got sick I earned in the low 6 figures, which put me at the time in the top few percentile, and it sure didn't feel like I was on top of much.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I dunno. The retired demographic doesn't get much play on the charts when a bi-weekly paycheck isn't involved. Why is that? No way to get statistics on accumulated wealth?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Here's a graph on the change in income post WWII.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

No way to get statistics on accumulated wealth?

that shows up in this graph -


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"So, the reason that so very few people these days have been unable to make it "up" into the top 1/5th - where "success" is two salaries of $45,000 per household, means that 80% of the population is just - what - too lazy? "

But is the goal to get into the top 20%? Does only the financially splashy accomplishment count? Obviously, everyone can't be in the top 20% or even 1%, just like everyone can't have an above average IQ. :-)

I think it's rarely about laziness, but probably more about personality. It's also not about academic excellence. Most people who are successful in their own business were not academically outstanding, according to The Millionaire Next Door". The average GPA of those surveyed was 2.92 - hardly star material. Average GPA was 2.76 for business owners. For physicians it was higher (3.12).

Anecdotally, the ones I know personally were quite average. But they showed up even under adverse situations, followed through, had some savvy about human behavior, and hatched a plan for starting a business along the way. It seems they had personalities that oriented them towards building their own businesses. They were not easily discouraged or dissuaded.

I think laziness is rare - it's too easy of an answer. A person can be scattered or disorganized or just not terribly creative when it comes to thinking up a business idea. Or they talk themselves out of it. Those types of people probably don't have the necessary personality to own and run a business, so they should probably do something else.

By the time people get to our age, they should know their strengths and weaknesses. I always wanted my own business, but never knew what it would be. If I was inspired about it, it shouldn't be such a strain to think of something. So I work for someone else. My personality is probably not suited to trying to run a business.

One thing is for sure: 99% of us will not be in the top 1% financially. I can say that with certainty. :-)


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I would be interested in seeing charts on net worth, because income does not reflect one's net worth. They are people with incomes in the top 20% who are in debt; and others whose income may be in a lower bracket than their total wealth.

But they do seem to be hard to come by. Maybe that's because income is easily tracked by the IRS - net worth, not so much?

Ooops - just saw David's chart, although that doesn't quite make the story clear. I've heard that the top 1% wealthiest Americans own about 50% of the stock - so there is a huge variation in that top 20%.

This post was edited by terrene on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 19:37


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

That was kind of what I was driving at - net worth. Your post was clearer than mine.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Bill makes salient points.

For people that don't want to pack up and leave their family, their friends, for people that aren't comfortable with risk or don't want to chance uncertainty, for people that burden themselves with debt and that have children that have to be considered--certainly, these people aren't going to be able to avail themselves of all of life's opportunities in this country.

Which brings us back to this--pretty much, we're a product of our decisions.

No one said it would be easy, and no one said everyone that tried would be as successful as they want to be.

We are dealt different cards in life and we play them differently.
Some spend their time worrying about what cards other people have.

But everyone in this country has the opportunity to do well.

I have found in talking with people, that one word of making excuses tells me all I need to know why some people don't have what they want in life.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

All these things have been discussed ad nauseum. Kevin Phillips wrote a whole book about the New Gilded Age. The wealth is transfering upward, and the PR firms are duping the gullible into whining about 'class warfare' and 'spreading the wealth' to whatever group they need demonize today.


(src)


(src)


(src - the bubble was a wealth-transfer opportunity as they always are)


(src)


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

But everyone in this country has the opportunity to do well.

Write the author of the piece in the OP. He needs to be corrected. Let us know what he says!

Imagine that! Correcting a Nobel Laureate! Some of our posters are a-maaaazinnnnng!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I've read many of Kevin Phillips' pieces throughout the years.

He makes a living whining about society, government and victims.

What I said holds true--if anyone has one moment to whine about why they don't have what they want in life, I know all I need to know about them.

They're a self-fulfulling prophecy, but somewhat useful fodder for people like Phillips and other policy wonks. Democrats are right there to tsk tsk tsk with them about how life is so unfair and what victims they are.

Spare me.

This is the country in the world that people have died trying to get into to realize their dreams.

The sad thing is, the natives are the ones whining about their lot in life.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 20:10

But......but...........when those people, some who die trying to get here, get here, you don't want them. You rail against them, then round them up, put them in jails and deport them. Then they have to try all over again.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

And others whine about the unfortunates out their who do not display "personal responsibility".


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I've read many of Kevin Phillips' pieces throughout the years...He makes a living whining about society, government and victims.

What I said holds true--if anyone has one moment to whine about why they don't have what they want in life, I know all I need to know about them.

LOLz-worthy falsehoods about Kevin Phillips aside, let us know what Stiglitz says when you write him and correct his erroneous argument.

We're all dying to know how you bring your prodigious rhetorical skills to bear on this important subject of growing American inequali-tea.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 20:10

But......but...........when those people, some who die trying to get here, get here, you don't want them. You rail against them, then round them up, put them in jails and deport them. Then they have to try all over again.

*

Mom, who exactly is the "you" that you refer to as not wanting people that are dying to get here?

If it is me, then you have no business speaking for me.

I am in fact a great supporter of immigration--as a matter of fact, I noted to some friends the other night how grateful I was that we had so many talented and hard working people come to this country to help make it great.

There is a legal process for coming here.

People wanting to come here to live should respect that.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I'm just copying and pasting what I wrote on the other thread:

Bill, I know a dozen people who are 50-60 years old, made good decisions, don't drink or smoke or chase women, work 50-60 hour weeks, bought into the idea of owning a home, some of them with masters and doctorate degrees with really good, well-established careers, who went from a decent middle class life down to really struggling on $35,000 a year. This started a few years before the big Bush Recession. Places like pharmaceutical companies laid off 200,000 research scientists and staff. What happened to them? In the recession, they ended up selling their homes, live in apartments or condos, took their kids out of good schools and put them in live-at-home community colleges, and so on. That was just to survive.

And I've posted enough so that forum readers know what happens when you're in the individual medical insurance market and get some nasty chronic disease in this country.

Adding here that I'll "complain" all I want to about the shrinking opportunities, the lousy k12 education system that feeds the problem, the bogus, for-profit "colleges" that rip kids off, the increasingly unsustainable concentration of wealth, and fight against some bogus 'austerity program' that further erode the opportunities while preserving and further concentrating the wealth at the top.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I dunno - before I got sick I earned in the low 6 figures, which put me at the time in the top few percentile, and it sure didn't feel like I was on top of much.

David-- it doesn't feel like it to me, either. Atleast I don't have to worry about being able to put heating oil in the tank, and keep the lights turned on. I also know I can help others to keep THEIR lights and heat on, too.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Thats great Bill does everyone in your community make that or are they some how all slackers!
Ar you typical of Maine. What was the median income for your area how far were you above local middle class income!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Thanks to Dano and David and labrea. You have far more patience than I in carrying on this discussion.

At the point it comes to - Joseph Stiglitz, what does he know - I have to skip out. But I salute your persistence in the face of prideful know-nothingness.

I'm constantly struck by this question: Can new knowledge - easily verifiable but against the so-called common wisdom - ever be acquired by the ideologically-driven mind?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

nancy_in_venice_ca wrote,

I'm constantly struck by this question: Can new knowledge - easily verifiable but against the so-called common wisdom - ever be acquired by the ideologically-driven mind?

Yes, but not by the hidden bias- and prejudice-driven mind that is closed. That mind, as evidenced by many conservatives here, picks not merely an ideology, but actual positions on issues first, based not on knowledge derived from facts but from desires based on bias, selfishness, prejudice, etc., then goes about marshalling facts to support the position. If the facts turn out to be wrong, or they don't support the preselected position, they are discarded or ignored.

As elvis eventually confessed when pressed on the question of accepting new knowledge that contradicted supposed facts in order to share an understanding of reality, she's simply not interested in having that shared understanding of the truth. It seems that facts are not valued above falsehoods; they are merely word-weapons to be deployed in furtherance of a position that is not derived from facts in the first place.

So the mindset to which I think you're referring can't acquire new knowledge that contradicts a selected position, because it simply doesn't want to; non-supporting knowledge doesn't have any value.

This post was edited by Factotem on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 7:54


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

According to the Census Bureau, the median income in Maine is $49,648.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Some spend their time worrying about what cards other people have.

And others spend their time complaining about others complaining.

I mean, come on, we should just shut up already! How dare we mention what is happening in this country! Just shut up and take it so the makers can keep on making (money for themselves only, that is)! We wouldn't want to complain too much about the fact that the land of opportunity isn't so much. 'Cause if we talk about too much, the haves might have to pay more taxes. So, shhhhhhh, everyone. Stop complaining!

I'm constantly struck by this question: Can new knowledge - easily verifiable but against the so-called common wisdom - ever be acquired by the ideologically-driven mind?

I think the answer is very clear rom reading this board. No.

The facts don't support your theory? No problem. Ignore. Claim they are tainted. Claim the author of the facts is just a complaining whiner. Claim it's not a valid study. Claim...well, you get the idea.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

That mind, as evidenced by many conservatives here

AND liberals. Case in point the originator of that statement.

Labrea-- the income data for this area is very deceiving. There are alot of families here in town that started out with 4000 sq. ft. "summer camps", and now that people can work from home on line, have moved here. So there are alot of people here in town now that have 7 and 8 figure incomes. But past them, no, we;re actually one of the most depressed areas of Maine. It's why I go all over for work. But I DO go all over-- like I said, you do what you have to do.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Talk about moving up in the world - one of my cousin's daughters (a 24 year old HS graduate) made over $100,000 in the past two years working 1 full time job and numerous part-time jobs (generally 60 hours per week). That doesn't include "some" income and perks.

She's made more in the past two years than her mother, 5 sisters and 2 brothers combined.

She's the only motivated/disciplined person in her immediate family since her grandfather, plus the only one with a driver's license, the only one that owns a home, the only one that owns a vehicle, the only one without a criminal record and the only one that doesn't have kids. Her siblings all have at least 3 kids.

She's saved/invested the majority of her income as well. 50K a year goes a long way in her region. Currently she's in the process of renovating a 3 family village home she bought for cash at a tax auction. Two units are finished, one is rented and she has two room-mates.

She's accomplished this despite negativity, jealousy, theft, leeching and even attempted sabotage by some of her jealous/angry siblings and former neighbors.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I live a pretty middle class existence, take no vacations, don't own a car, or a house. rarely eat out. I make quite a bit more than the median income for NY.
There's a 162 residences for sale in my neighborhood the average is $4.6 Million. 30 years ago this was a working class Italian neighborhood. The factories just east of here once employing hundreds of thousands of workers are now high end luxury stores & multi million dollar lofts.
A few little old ladies cling to the remnants of what once was. The disparity looks like Irma's 3rd floor un renovated apartment still rents around $500 a month shes on a pension & can still play Bingo & feed her dog. The apartment right above her rents for $2300. It's still a walk up. This is not an anomaly this is typical all over Manhattan top to bottom. The AVERAGE listing for EAST HARLEM where 271 residences are now available is $1.4 Million.
Year after year the bureau of statistics show a decline in the middle class & that only makes the CASINO MENTALITY grow.. It only spawns magazine articles that ask are the price of College degrees worth anything. That would have been considered an idiotic idea in the 60's or 70's.
I was just thinking that for all those high end business in Soho the turn over is incredible with restaurants & shops coming & going. That's competition & hard luck all wrapped up into one.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Concerning income, much of our population makes little earned/claimed income, however if you total income from part-time jobs, under-the-table jobs, $X,000 tax credits and other benefits - subsidized private/public housing, food stamps, WIC, daycare, Medicaid, HEAP, Emergency HEAP, family support, local/private support etc, they're making out well.

These benefits keep much of our population fat and happy so to speak. They're not beating down doors and pounding the pavement looking to better themselves by working harder or smarter. The same applies to saving and investing.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

prideful know-nothingness.... Can new knowledge - easily verifiable but against the so-called common wisdom - ever be acquired by the ideologically-driven mind?

So many books and short stories have been written about shocks that changed the closed mind...

But this crew here? Nah.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I'm not surprised that many never move up considering how many lack college education, technical education, professional licenses and/or skills, knowledge and experience in high demand growth industries.

Even many with multiple skill sets and/or multiple businesses often go for periods of time with shortages of work.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I have a close relative who is finishing up a masters degree and applying for jobs, the posted starting salaries range from $70,000 - $90,000. She's got all the qualifications and can pick and chose.

So it only took 7 years of university, great scholarships, two part-time jobs during school, three in the summer, 4 different lap top computers, and $40,000 in debt.

See? Anybody can do it.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Posted by markjames (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 9:19

Concerning income, much of our population makes little earned/claimed income, however if you total income from part-time jobs, under-the-table jobs, $X,000 tax credits and other benefits - subsidized private/public housing, food stamps, WIC, daycare, Medicaid, HEAP, Emergency HEAP, family support, local/private support etc, they're making out well.

These benefits keep much of our population fat and happy so to speak. They're not beating down doors and pounding the pavement looking to better themselves by working harder or smarter. The same applies to saving and investing.

*

Therein lies part of the problem--there is little to no motivation to do better when others supply the needs, which frees one to
make just enough to acquire the wants. Some people want nothing more than a big screen television, a cell phone ;), and a grocery cart full of orange soda, chips and cookies.

Sadly, that's about all some are likely to have.
Unfortunately, these people generally don't make enough to pay any federal income taxes and contribute.

Markjames--good for your cousin's daughter!

She is just one example of what someone with a high school education, ambition, and a willingness to make good personal decisions and work hard can do.

It doesn't require expensive computers or a lot of debt.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

It doesn't require expensive computers or a lot of debt.

No, you only need those when you go to universities.

Just like Rick Santorum, against higher education because its "snobbish", Yes, a high school education is all that is needed to succeed in this country.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

One of our relatives daughters graduated with a teaching degree and wanted to stay local, however many school systems are cutting teachers, staff and programs.

The good school systems literally have hundreds of applicants for every available teaching position.

She was offered a job in a very bad school system, but wasn't interested due to the low starting pay, distance, area and working conditions.

She was subbing/tutoring locally for a while, but ended working a warehouse job @ $17 per hour, then an assistant store manager job with somewhat flexible hours @ $16 per hour which allows her to go back to college as well. She now makes close to $19 per hour - plenty of overtime if she wants to work until closing.

She got certified as a CNA so she can do some side jobs, overnights and private duty gigs while going to a local community college for nursing. The private duty gigs, especially the overnights allow her to make money while studying as well.

She's a real go getter...


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I said expensive computers. One can easily pick up an older computer that does what it takes for school work, or use free computers in libraries.

It's inconvenient though. I realize that inconvenience and effort are big stumbling blocks for people that claim they want to be successful--especially when they see that others may not have to be equally inconvenienced or produce as much effort.

Focusing on that fact can cause a lot of people to decide the cards are stacked against them and it's just not fair.

It doesn't require a lot of debt, either.

There are ways to get an education without going into a lot of debt--one way is scholarships. I received an academic scholarship and worked every day after classes and through the summers to fund my education. Also, people can find a company that is willing to pay for their education---I know a young lady who is about to graduate from college paid primarily for by her employer at a national chain restaurant that she has worked for for years.

Another is to work, go to school, work, then go to school. Work at night--go to school in the day.

It takes a while.
It isn't easy.

That may in fact, be the reason many don't get what they want in life, or think they deserve--it isn't easy.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Great stories and Demi that doesn't buck a 30 year trend!
I know a guy who knew a gal who was married to some one who went (yaddah yaddah yaddah) It's changing the topic to satisfy an opinion


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

It's changing the topic to satisfy an opinion

You can tell that one never went to university.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Posted by labrea 7NYC (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 11:31

Great stories and Demi that doesn't buck a 30 year trend!
I know a guy who knew a gal who was married to some one who went (yaddah yaddah yaddah) It's changing the topic to satisfy an opinion

*

You consider it an anecdote, and it is, labrea, but that scenario is played out every day by the cream of the crop that aren't whiners or excuse makers.

Markjames' young lady is one that defies the "odds" that the liberal establishment attempts to pawn off as excuses for failure. I would guess this woman is no different than a lot of people except that she possesses more character and determination.

Taking pot shots at me for expressing that opinion will not change the fact that every day there are people quietly going about living the American Dream without needing liberals or other people's money.

That's what liberals and Democrats don't want anyone to know.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Well, there are certainly cheap lap top computers and library computers, and then there are those that you need massive hard drives, memory, and fast CPU's to learn how to do the work that will get you a $70,000 starting salary.

And then there are community colleges and state universities, and then those that offer courses where you graduate and get a $70,000 starting salary knowing how to use cutting edge computing systems, because you've just spent 7 years working with them.

YMMV.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Markjames--good for your cousin's daughter!

She is just one example of what someone with a high school education, ambition, and a willingness to make good personal decisions and work hard can do.

It doesn't require expensive computers or a lot of debt.

She still doesn't own a computer, although she has a prepaid cell phone with internet access. She grew up in a household that sold anything of value (that they didn't neglect/abuse/ruin) including computers for cigarette, beer, liquor and pot money.

She has no unsecured credit cards and no debt.

While many of her peers are paying rent, she's collecting rent.

We help protect her from her mother, siblings, their friends and other leeches and bad influences.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

That's what liberals and Democrats don't want anyone to know.

Words: not intended to convey facts or information.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

She is fortunate to have someone looking out for pitfalls--like family--to keep her on tract.

The fact that she has no debt and indeed, has figured out a way to own property and have additional income coming in, puts her light years ahead of many young people her age.

Kudos to her, and I hope more people see her example and follow!

*

David, I don't know what to say.

For every positive I've ever posted, you tend to post more negative. No wonder woe and misery are the outlook.

I hope that anyone that wants a $70,000 a year job will do what it takes to get it. It's not that hard to do, even without a computer (see Markjame's story). But it does involve not constantly comparing oneself or circumstances to others and feeling one comes up short through no fault of their own.

Labrea--as far as trends, it occurs to me that the trend in people's income and achievements aren't all due to factors beyond their control in the economy, but the trend is to assume that :

(A) One cannot succeed because what people are told by liberals, Democrats, the media and sometimes their own families. Negative attitudes and making excuses and pointing out potential roadblocks goes a long way to discouraging financial independence and success, as well as career goals.

(B) One will not succeed because the government is taking away the "hunger to succeed" by giving people just enough to get by and not want more.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I said expensive computers. One can easily pick up an older computer that does what it takes for school work, or use free computers in libraries.

When I buy used computers for many low income people we know, I generally shop for modern dual core laptops. I never pay more than $100 for any of them unless they're Core i5 or i7 models and/or powerful gaming models.

A few weeks after much of the population has spent their tax refunds/EIC money, the market will be flooded used laptops and tablets selling for pennies on the dollar when they need cash.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

yeah you can rig them with key loggers to right?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

(A) One cannot succeed because what people are told by liberals, Democrats, the media and sometimes their own families. Negative attitudes and making excuses and pointing out potential roadblocks goes a long way to discouraging financial independence and success, as well as career goals.

Once again, you must live in a totally different world than I do. Where I come from, pointing out road blocks is the best way to avoid running into them, full speed. And pretty much everybody I know works very hard and tries very hard to get ahead, and take advantage of every opportunity that they can. That 'can' part, around here, means commuting to the oil and gas fields in Wyoming and N. Dakota. It means living in cars in the factory parking lot to save commuting. I guess your acquaintances aren't like that.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Posted by david52 z5CO (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 12:17

(A) One cannot succeed because what people are told by liberals, Democrats, the media and sometimes their own families. Negative attitudes and making excuses and pointing out potential roadblocks goes a long way to discouraging financial independence and success, as well as career goals.

Once again, you must live in a totally different world than I do. Where I come from, pointing out road blocks is the best way to avoid running into them, full speed. And pretty much everybody I know works very hard and tries very hard to get ahead, and take advantage of every opportunity that they can. That 'can' part, around here, means commuting to the oil and gas fields in Wyoming and N. Dakota. It means living in cars in the factory parking lot to save commuting. I guess your acquaintances aren't like that.

*

ROTF, David, not only do I have acquaintances that did just that--live in cars to save money, but my own husband did it.
He worked for days at a time, sleeping in his car on job sites.

He paid for his college tuition and expenses by working three and four jobs, working a garden for an old man for food exchange, and killing a deer and squirrels and he and his roommates got an old freezer and had meat because of that.

He taught school, drove the bus before and after school, coached, and refereed ball games at night and weekends, too.

You see--I have family members like my dad and my husband, and others that I know that have worked that hard,and that's why I am steadfast in saying that if people have their physical and mental faculties, they can achieve so much in this country.

The trick is to keep one's eye on the ball and not worry about someone else's ball.

An attitude of not making petty and completely off base remarks like you did to me helps, too.

This post was edited by demifloyd on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 13:13


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Demi, what did the Nobel Laureate say when you wrote to him, shared your prodigious wisdom, and corrected his piece in the OP?

Did he realize all his numbery stuff and high-falutin' elitist data ain't no match for your anecdotes????????


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

There's still plenty of Calvinism left in this nation.

God knows who is deserving, and blesses their hard work with success. (Evidently, if you aren't 'deserving' you can go whistle; your hard work doesn't count in the same way.)

Any time a forum discusses budgeting or waste, you'll get a lot of people who 'know' that *others* are wasteful -- especially if anyone with Depression Era upbringing is preaching.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Facto said That mind, as evidenced by many conservatives here, picks not merely an ideology, but actual positions on issues first, based not on knowledge derived from facts but from desires based on bias, selfishness, prejudice, etc., then goes about marshalling facts to support the position.

This mind is exhibited by all humans, and it's called "confirmation bias" or the "backfire effect" which is a natural defense mechanism to avoid cognitive dissonance, and displays itself strongest for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs (like politics). I don't think it has anything to do with a political party or tendency, as I observe it in both liberals and conversatives on this forum and IRL.

What's more, if a person thinks they are above this cognitive tendency, IMO it is virtually certain they are deluding themselves and ironically displaying this very phenomenon! I think every one has to be constantly vigilant in questioning their thinking.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia - Confirmation Bias


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I don't think it has anything to do with a political party or tendency, as I observe it in both liberals and conversatives on this forum and IRL.

Let him go-- he's on a roll. :-)


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Besides-- he's never wrong. Just ask him-- he'll tell you..


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

terrene wrote,

Facto said That mind, as evidenced by many conservatives here, picks not merely an ideology, but actual positions on issues first, based not on knowledge derived from facts but from desires based on bias, selfishness, prejudice, etc., then goes about marshalling facts to support the position.
This mind is exhibited by all humans, and it's called "confirmation bias" or the "backfire effect" which is a natural defense mechanism to avoid cognitive dissonance, and displays itself strongest for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs (like politics). I don't think it has anything to do with a political party or tendency, as I observe it in both liberals and conversatives on this forum and IRL.

What's more, if a person thinks they are above this cognitive tendency, IMO it is virtually certain they are deluding themselves and ironically displaying this very phenomenon! I think every one has to be constantly vigilant in questioning their thinking.

No, there is an essential difference between the phenomenon I am describing and confirmation bias. I agree that all people are susceptible to confirmation bias, whereby they thend to notice information that confirms a belief they have arrived at, and they tend to overlook or rationalize data that does not support the position. But that phenomenon can exist in a sincere individual, and it admits of a position being arrived at through applying reasoning to data that is considered valid.

The phenomenon I am discussing is essentially, qualitatively different. Those who engage in it do not use data and reasoning to arrive a positions; they select them first, based on desire, bias, prejudice, and other impure factors, then they try to promote their position not by using the same facts and reasoning they used (as they did not actually do that), but rather by finding -- or fabricating -- information. They are not subconsciously latching onto information that supports their beliefs; they are consciously, actively seeking such information. They are not subconsciously downplaying or rationalizing information that conflicts with their position -- they are knowingly, intentionally evading such information. Therefore, confirmation bias is not the issue at all. As Elvis explained here, conservatives are simply not interested in having a shared understanding of facts with others who hold different positions. It's a plan.

This phenomenon I observe most often with conservatives. i find those on the left are substantially more honest about facts, and they tend to form positions based on examining facts and applying reason to them, and they are willing to re-formulate their positions when they discover new facts or are presented with persuasive reasoning. Those behaviors are almost completely absent from conservatives.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I won't say I tolja so. :-)


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I won't say I tolja so.

Then you didn't read what factotem wrote; s/he is not commenting about confirmation bias.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Facto, are you saying that confirmation bias only applies to sincere thinking? Do you think that only people who apply reason to their positions are sincere? Can't a person who holds a position based on emotion, or religious beliefs, or maybe a previous experience or trauma, still be sincere, even if they aren't reasonable?

The phenomenon you describe seems to have a component of insincerity to it. Sorta sounds like marketing to me! What would you call it?

Just trying to learn here.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

terrene, I'll try and piggyback on your questions as the topic interests me as well.

I have trouble understanding why someone would continually look to certain sources for information (that supports their partisan views) even though those sources are proven to be incorrect over and over. For example -- the birthers, the misinformation about the President's $200 million a day trip to India, and any number of falsehoods that are echoing in the right-wing noise machine. No amount of factual information will dispel the belief in these fantasies.

All's fair in love politics and war?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Confirmation bias is finding information that appeals to the notion of the information you were looking for, and stopping there. Not making a thorough analysis.

A preconceived notion is a conclusion already determined and not seeking further evidence or - as Maher says - 'living in the conservative bubble'. Making no analysis whatsoever or rejecting analyses out of hand.

Conservatives are not alone in this practice, but here in Murrica it sure seems more prevalent.

The op-eds originating from the conservative think-tanks take advantage of these biases and lack of analyses by appealing to familiar frames found within the subgroups/tribes, in order to bypass the analysis and appeal to and reinforce the preconceived notion(s).


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Hoot! Sorry Marshall; couldn't help myself ;D


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"If the majority (and 58% is a majority) of the bottom economic levels move up, then there is opportunity not a guarantee."

Yep. The trick is to be born to educated, married parents. It's much harder to move up when your mother is an unmarried high school drop out, pregnant by her third baby daddy.

A couple of decades ago, conservatives warned that giving young girls an independent source of income after they got pregnant would end up subsidizing and strengthening economic and social stratification.

And here we are.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

  • Posted by momj47 7A..was 6B (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 12:09

What would the alternative be?

Not giving them an independent source of income would leave with a baby, no food, no housing, nothing.

Is that a better choice?

What would you suggest as a good solution?

Abstinence education? ROLFL

This post was edited by momj47 on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 12:10


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Is it the babies fault?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I hope those aren't teen pregnancy rates NIK as we have been here before they are at a historic low in the US. Some data is always best through a macro fish eye lens! Perhaps the entire US trend all pivots on that yes that must be it! NAAAH!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

A couple of decades ago, conservatives warned that giving young girls an independent source of income after they got pregnant would end up subsidizing and strengthening economic and social stratification.

And here we are.

That's good comedy! I LOLz'ed!

The fetus is more precious than all the gold in the world. Once its born, you're on your own, sucker!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

No you're not-- the government will give your mom all the money in the world, all in your name.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"I hope those aren't teen pregnancy rates NIK as we have been here before they are at a historic low in the US.

The "low" is only relative to other age groups. The total number of babies born to unmarried teens, and all other age groups has increased.
---------------------------------------------------------------------- ------
"What would the alternative be?"
Family support.

"Not giving them an independent source of income would leave with a baby, no food, no housing, nothing."

Only if we accept that level of dysfunction as the norm and continue to subsidize it.
---------------------------------------------------------------------- -
"What would you suggest as a good solution?"
Same thing as the article. Education. From both directions.

In every community, including the poorest ones, some people and families do better than others. Learn from them. Ask them what they think makes a difference in their lives and the lives of their children. Church activities? Mentors? Their community center? Discipline. School programs? Have them talk about what helps and what hurts. Have the humility to let them tell you what you might not know.

---------------------------------------------------------------------- -----
"Abstinence education?"

That's the problem. Your question comes from the wrong direction. Let the community tell YOU what gets the best results and what wastes resources. They know. Learn from them.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

American social and economic mobility: decreasing.

Blaming it on teen moms won't change anything. It's a soothing bromide for some, though.

American social and economic mobility: decreasing.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

nikoleta wrote,

"I hope those aren't teen pregnancy rates NIK as we have been here before they are at a historic low in the US."

The "low" is only relative to other age groups. The total number of babies born to unmarried teens, and all other age groups has increased.

Incorrect. The teen pregnancy rate in the US has declined steadily as an absolute figure, not "only relative to other age groups."


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"What would the alternative be?"
Family support.

Is there anything stopping families from supporting them now?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I'm reading Niks opinions but a few years of fencing without links helps to ignore these premise.. They often float to the surface's of a discussion that requires source data to buttress presumptions.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"I'm reading Niks opinions but a few years of fencing without links helps to ignore these premise.."

Piffle. I'm following your protocol here. You posted your claim
( "I hope those aren't teen pregnancy rates NIK as we have been here before they are at a historic low in the US" ) without a link.

Even so, it was easy enough to confirm that your claimed "low" is only relative to other age groups. The total number of babies born to unmarried teens, and all other age groups has increased.

I see that one of your admirers rushed to support your claim without doing his homework. I know you did yours, but I think you need to go back and check your information to be sure that what you claimed here is actually what it says.




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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Evidence please.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

nikoleta wrote,

Piffle. I'm following your protocol here. You posted your claim
( "I hope those aren't teen pregnancy rates NIK as we have been here before they are at a historic low in the US" ) without a link.

Even so, it was easy enough to confirm that your claimed "low" is only relative to other age groups.

Teen pregnancy rates in the US have declined every year over at least the last fourteen years as an absolute measure, not "relative to other age groups."


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Teen pregnancy rates in the US

That was not her claim.

Someone was misleading her by arguing [t]he total number of babies born, hoping for innumeracy in their reader.

We do, however, await her evidence to see what she needs to stop reading.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Teen pregnancy rates in the US have declined every year over at least the last fourteen years as an absolute measure, not "relative to other age groups."

Thanks to the increased availability and decreased stigma of having an abortion. Unfortunately, although my suspicions are that abortion rates are up, the latest that there are stats available from the CDC are from 2009, and for that year, there is a slight drop from 2008. I'd be very interested to see what the stats say once later stats are released. There ARE some stats released by planned parenthood, though, that are extremely disturbing. Such as in NYC that year (09), there were 713 abortions per 1,000 live births. Also 36.6% of all abortions performed, were done on women who'd had 1 or 2 prior abortions, and 8.1% for women who'd had 3 or more prior abortions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Abortion Statistics


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

bill_vincent wrote,

Thanks to the increased availability and decreased stigma of having an abortion. Unfortunately, although my suspicions are that abortion rates are up, the latest that there are stats available from the CDC are from 2009, and for that year, there is a slight drop from 2008.

Obviously you are speculating here as you say you have no data to support your guess. I should clarify that I was referring to birth rates as you have surmised.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Thanks to the increased availability and decreased stigma of having an abortion.

Conservative bubble: a reliable source of amusement since 1964!

Teenage pregnancies plunged, with the lowest-ever teen birth rate in 2010 and an even steeper decrease in teen abortions, the report authors said.

...Abortion rates in the US fell by 5 percent, the biggest single-year decrease in a decade, with teen pregnancies notably on the decline, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said...The Washington Post canvassed a number of possible reasons why abortion rates are falling, including new abortion restrictions introduced in 2011, to tough economic times and use of long acting contraceptives.

After ruling out the first two theories, settled on a correlation between the abortion rate dropping and use of more effective contraceptives.

Hoot.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

WxDano wrote,

Teen pregnancy rates in the US
That was not her claim.

Someone was misleading her by arguing [t]he total number of babies born, hoping for innumeracy in their reader.

nikoleta has no such evasion available, because labrea refers explicitly to "rates" as being at a low, and nikoleta responds, "The 'low' is only relative to other age groups." Therefore, she is referring directly and specifically to the "low" that labrea mentioned -- low rates.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"Teenage pregnancies plunged, with the lowest-ever teen birth rate in 2010 and an even steeper decrease in teen abortions, the report authors said."

Wonderful news. ;D


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

elvis wrote,

"Teenage pregnancies plunged, with the lowest-ever teen birth rate in 2010 and an even steeper decrease in teen abortions, the report authors said."

Wonderful news. ;D

Contraception: you get more of what you subsidize. I speculate that demifloyd would support subsidization of contraception based on this principle that she has articulated on numerous occasions. I concur.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Now that the clowny attempt to blame the decrease in social mobility on teen moms is over, exactly zero arguments disputing the data have surfaced.

Other recent threads have explored the productivity gains of labor not being returned to labor, and the dysfunction of our political economy resulting in no fix for this mess in the foreseeable future.

"The two great aims of industrialism - replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy - seem close to fulfillment." -- Wendell Berry


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Obviously you are speculating here as you say you have no data to support your guess. I should clarify that I was referring to birth rates as you have surmised.

I would HOPE it's obvious, being that I stated as much.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

well the obvious next question then , is , what is the point of speculation?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"what is the point of speculation?"

Uh...discussion?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Elvis, let her go-- she's GOT to say something, being that it was me that raised the issue. It's in the rule book.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

nikoleta wrote,

... your claim
( "I hope those aren't teen pregnancy rates NIK as we have been here before they are at a historic low in the US" ) ...

it was easy enough to confirm that your claimed "low" is only relative to other age groups.

Still false, and your failure to support your claim despite ample opportunity is reasonably taken as a retraction.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 15:20

When you have no qualms about posting falsehoods in the first place, you certainly don't care about admitting them later.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

When you have no qualms about posting falsehoods in the first place, you certainly don't care about admitting them later.

Unfortunately, that seems to be the pattern here. Is it my imagination, or is it getting worse?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"Unfortunately, that seems to be the pattern here. Is it my imagination, or is it getting worse?"

My observations indicate that the frequency of posting incorrect or misleading information has not increased. However the friendliness quotient is steadily decreasing.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"Elvis, let her go-- she's GOT to say something, being that it was me that raised the issue. It's in the rule book." I find your comments petulant .

What is the point of speculation when others have brought facts and figures to the table.?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

the friendliness quotient is steadily decreasing.

Against the habitual hypocrites and misinformers, or everyone?

What is the point of speculation when others have brought facts and figures to the table.?

Spam to derail.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Because there are NO facts and figures up to date, or even for the last 3 years. And for the record, you've been known to "speculate" a time or two, but it seemed okay for you then. As for my comment being petulant, you seem to be getting more observant in your old age! Very good! I'm proud of you!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

YQ: ""Elvis, let her go-- she's GOT to say something, being that it was me that raised the issue. It's in the rule book." I find your comments petulant ."

And I find your comment delightful, YQ. The humanity I've seen, shared and been a target for (usually well deserved; sometimes not) here on HT over the year I've been here is what makes it special to me.

Thanks for being yourself, YQ.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Because there are NO facts and figures up to date, or even for the last 3 years.

Except for the 2010 figures I provided.

But I guess if you need to wish a long-term trend is reversing, you'll wish information isn't out there to refute a persistent confirmation bias. Conservative bubble: a reliable source of amusement since 1964!


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

WHAT 2010 figures?


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Elv you are welcome. There is one person on this forum who continually uses insulting names for posters who bring logic and facts to the argument.
its not me.

Check your buddies, Im not the abusive one.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Aw c'mon, cupcake.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Late to the party, but...

For inner city teen girls in Englewood, Chicago, maternity and child welfare payments are frequently seen as the ONLY means of livelihood. Thus, the continuing generations on welfare.

For years neighboring Wisconsin had generous child welfare payments -- same result. Stringent cutbacks resulted in lower rate of claims. (Don't know about births.)

Sooo -- maybe the claim of increased dependency where there is more welfare can be a true one.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Pretty much the same in rural Maine.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

"Pretty much the same in rural Maine."

Which part; generous benefits attracted applicants to your state, or Maine cut back on the generous beneits and the number of claimants decreased?

Here in Wisconsin, my caseload was big back in the mid-'80's. Not long after I left DSS the program was changed to require recipients to work. I understand from my former co-workers that the influx from Illinois kind of s-l-o-w-e-d down.

But it's not quite that simple Making a space change (distance) is risky. There are many papers written by learned individuals and groups which resulted in a myriad of opinions. Now we have Badger Care, a health care program (very affordable) which may or may not be attracting people from nearby states.

Then again, could be our balmy Wisconsin weather.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Elvis--
For inner city teen girls in Englewood, Chicago, maternity and child welfare payments are frequently seen as the ONLY means of livelihood. Thus, the continuing generations on welfare.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

So lets cut all those maternity and child welfare payments out, and see what happens to all those kids.

We can look around at countries where they don't mess with that 'namby pamby society taking care of kids' stuff, see how its going there. Nigeria? Columbia? Mexico?

Hint: they shoot feral kids.

This post was edited by david52 on Sun, Feb 24, 13 at 12:32


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

I've got a better idea-- how about we show these kids a better way to make a living, and thereby advance themselves instead of having to depend on the generosity of others, or the political wind blowing money their way, and let them get a feeling of high self worth, maybe for the first time in their lives


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Okay, that's it. Cut out as many support programs and decimate academic programs in k-12, teach the "kids a better way to make a living, and thereby advance themselves", I guess by faith and stern lectures. I'll stop right here before I get offensive.


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RE: Social and Economic Mobility is a Myth

Marshall, that's not what I said. Seeth all you want. What I said was take these people who've made a career of living off the government, because they knew no other way, a chance to better themselves, and in so doing, FEEL better ABOUT themselves. I guess that's just SO EFFING WRONG! Most of the time you're a pretty reasonable person. But every once in a while..... :-)


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