October 13th, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
All 4 of my grandparents were born overseas. They arrived in the USA in the 1920s. They would be surprised by the recent stagnation. Interesting:
When progress is the norm, it feeds on itself. People can trust that their own sacrifices will usually pay off. They can endure hard times without becoming cynical and can be generous toward others.
Now, imagine a different reality: one in which your family — or whole community — had known scant progress for decades.
You couldn’t tell stories of upward mobility, because they wouldn’t be true. Instead, you would be frustrated, about hard work gone unrewarded, and anxious, for your future and your children.
Such stagnation is the reality for much of the country’s population — roughly one third by many measures, closer to half by others. Some of the statistics are familiar. But as a group, they’re chilling.
The typical household, amazingly, has a net worth 14 percent lower than the typical one did in 1984, according to a forthcoming Russell Sage Foundation publication. The life-expectancy gap between the affluent and everyone else is growing. The number of children living with only one parent or none has doubled since the 1970s (to 30 percent). The obesity rate has nearly tripled (to 38 percent). About eight million people have spent time behind bars at some point in their life, up from 1.5 million 40 years ago. While college enrollment has grown, the norm for middle-class and poor students is to leave without a four-year degree.