Letter: Harder to rise from the bottom - East Valley Tribune: Letters To The Editor

Letter: Harder to rise from the bottom

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Posted: Saturday, January 7, 2012 8:21 am

A recent New York Times article titled, “Harder for Americans to rise from lower rungs” reveals a real blind spot in the way far too many Americans view both our nation’s present and our future.

We are hearing conservative politicians brag about “American Exceptionalism” as if it’s a God-given entitlement that’s guaranteed and can’t ever be taken from us.

But numerous recent studies have shown we are deluding ourselves if we believe we will continue to “lead the world” into the 21st century!

The NYT article points out how it continues to grow more difficult for those at the bottom to rise out of poverty as income inequality grows greater under ‘trickle down economic folly.” 

And in similar fashion, it notes how much easier it is for children of the wealthiest Americans to stay in the upper income brackets due mainly to educational opportunities they enjoy that are becoming much less accessible for those at the bottom.

In 2006, Professor Miles Corak, an economist at the University of Ottawa, reviewed 50 studies from nine nations. He found that Canada, Norway, Finland and Denmark led all nations in upward mobility, followed by Sweden, Germany and France, with the U.S. and Great Britain at the bottom!

There is a very simple explanation and it’s called the education factor. 

In countries where upward mobility is the greatest, quality public education is a given and low or no-cost higher education is available to every citizen!

America faces a choice, invest in affordable higher education for all, or fall further behind!

Rod Livdahl


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