Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I resisted reading the full New York magazine money issue, because I know some people at New York, and I really don't want to subject myself to anything they have to say about wealth and struggling to live in New York.

However, when a not-particularly-political artist friend brought up the magazine over drinks this weekend, I felt compelled to take a peak. I knew it was going to be annoying, but I didn't expect it to be so depressing.

On this score, there is evidence that the fluid immigration and opportunity that made the American Dream part of the national identity is history. According to American University’s Tom Hertz, there is less than a 2 percent chance that an American born to parents whose income is in the bottom 60 percent of all incomes will end up in the top 5 percent. Americans born to parents in the bottom 20 percent, meanwhile, have a 40 percent chance of staying at the bottom. Among the nine high-income countries Hertz has studied, only the U.K. had a lower rate of mobility. For the three-quarters of New Yorkers who don’t have college degrees, the challenge of upward mobility can be particularly acute. Education tops Hertz’s list of factors affecting the odds that one will end up in a higher income bracket than one’s parents, followed by race and health.

I need to start a Left Behinds St. John's Wort Fund.


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