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Monday, May 16, 2005

Income disability - the new American Dream

The New York Times is running a fantastic feature on class in America. The highlights include: a story about three heart attack sufferers and their disparate care after the incident, a story on declining income mobility (the American Dream), and an interactive feature to learn more about who is middle class.

I’m fascinated by class because I grew up in a family without financial difficulties. Will I end up as wealthy as my folks? Will my kids?

The United States makes itself out as a great egalitarian nation, where anyone with grit and determination can improve their lot. And yet many countries, including those welfare states we love to deride, have much greater income mobility. That means if I start poor, my children are likely to ascend the economic ladder much faster across the pond. It’s too bad that the American Dream is more about political rhetoric these days (are you a patriot?).

If the American Dream is so great, maybe we should put some money on it.

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