Saturday, November 12, 2011


Zakaria, Fareed

"The downward path of upward mobility"

The Washington Post

November 9, 2011


Digital Newspaper

November 10, 2011

 Most Americans are increasingly concerned over the growing gap between the rich and the poor. The biggest causality seems to be the shrinking American middle-class. In Fareed Zakaria's article, he shows how this argument is quickly divided among party lines with liberals wanting some sort of government intervention and Conservatives saying let the free market find its equilibrium. The all powerful and ever vacillating Independent voters are leaning towards the Liberals. Prevailing thought on the subject paints a picture of a America with far less social nets to catch people than in our European counterparts but with more opportunity for upward mobility for the hardworking and industrious. But, the most comprehensive comparative study done last year by the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that it was much harder for poor Americans to move up economic classes than in Northern or Western Europe. Time magazine did a huge in-depth article on the subject and came to the same surprising conclusions. How could countries that have larger welfare systems possibly offer more upward mobility? Fareed says it is because European countries have done more to directly address correct the problem. Specifically, European countries have chosen to invest more than us in childhood health and nutritional programs. They also invest much more than us in education. There is also a lot of evidence that American children show up to school unready to learn because of dysfunctional family issues. In America, if you are born into poverty, you are highly likely to have malnutrition, childhood sicknesses, and a bad education. In 2011 1 in 5 adults live in poverty and 2 in 5 children.

 This article portrays an America that is much different than the one we are conditioned to believe as children. We are brainwashed to believe that we are the land of the free, full of opportunity. We are all that and more, if you compare us to 2nd and 3rd world countries, hell we look friging great! But, when we take a honest look at ourselves compared to our real peers in Europe and abroad, we are not what we think we are and we need to be aware and acknowledge this before we can solve it. Americans are stuck in false image of ourselves. We act like it continually 1945, where we just saved the world from tyranny. We are the economic leader in the world, we lead the world in political freedoms, and we are the best and everyone else is crap. The are the best, we are the greatest, and most of all, extremely benevolent and the global designated guardian of freedom. Our view of ourselves does not match the reality around us. Most of all, the land of opportunity is not as fertile and opportunistic as we once thought. In stead of competing with the world to always be the best, maybe we should compete with ourselves to push ourselves to be better human beings, stewards of the land, and more benevolent people, like our predecessors back in 1945!

 This article ties nicely into my research the decline and erosion of the American middle class. The lack of upward mobility is ruining this country. The rich tilt the playing field in their favor by paying Congress and lawmakers to gut the middle class. The playing field gets tilted more and more uphill for working class Americans. It seems until huge amounts of people are hurting, nothing is going to change. If the main problem stems from bias laws and regulation, then we have hope. We the people can stand up and make our voice herd. Historically speaking when we do, things and votes change fast.