Friday, April 22, 2011

Not All Bootstraps Are Created Equal

The sting is in the tail of this short piece:

"One of the most remarkable findings from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Economic Mobility Project is that a child from a family in the top income quintile who does not get a college degree is more likely to wind up in the top income quintile himself than a child from a family in the bottom income quintile who does get a college degree." (There's a link to the data.) Money flows from advantage more than from hard work or ability. Especially in our new and very unequal economy.

Lane Kenworthy writes a blog from Arizona that questions many of the conservative talking points. Worth visiting. Conservative mantras serve their masters by addressing the simpler minded with simple nostrums, often misleading ones. Here is one that unravels given a little scrutiny. Short but hard to squeeze into a soundbite.

Often the "evidence" offered for giving greater and greater reward and advantage to the people at the top is bad evidence, or distorted evidence. Which causes a person to wonder: who pays the sifters of evidence? Is this just another advantage owned by the people at the top? The thinkers and sifters, the judges and lawmakers, the lenders and credit raters, the newspapers and other media that inform us, all belong to them.

I wish the New York Review of Books spent more time on books and less on policy, but what the MSM won't tackle, they must. And they do it intelligently.

I dislike it when the very advantaged and comfortable, many of whom succeeded with a leg up from their families or connections, wonder aloud why the poor and the less fortunate aren't trying harder. It's hard work being poor, with none of the rewards. They should try it.

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