In Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class Is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust, Why That Is a Problem, And What to Do About It ( Brookings Institution Press 2017), Richard V. Reeves tells us that between 1979 and 2013 real income for the bottom 80% of American earners rose by only 41% while the top 20% rose by an astounding 88%.
The author contends that the upper middle class is unaware of the detriment that they are causing. In fact, they tend to blame the top 1% for our collective economic ills. Their focus on appearance, achievement and affluence keeps them from seeing the entire picture. Reeves writes that exclusionary zoning, college legacy policies and internships acquired through family connections, give upper middle class children an unfair advantage to better K-12 education, choice college entry and intern opportunities not based on merit or real ability.
There have been attempts to outlaw these unfair advantages, but they have gone unchanged. The upper middle class has cut themselves off from the bottom 80% believing they only have themselves to thank for their accomplishments. By isolating themselves, they seem to have lost empathy for average Americans and when they go to the polls, they vote to protect their own interests and not for what is good for America. They are squashing upper mobility for the bottom 80% and keeping it for themselves through unfair laws and policies. They have forgotten fairness.
2 thoughts on “Fairness Forgotten?”
There is growing gap in marriage between the rich and poor. The marriage rate for the poor has steadily declined since the 1980s and is now lower than any time in history.
Household incomes for the richest 1 percent of Americans has grown 174 percent but for our poor only 16 percent according to the congressional budget office . Researchers estimate One fifth to two Fifths of the growth of income inequality is due to the difference of marriage rates between rich and poor,determined by educational achievement. Research from Princeton university and the Brookings institution have stated this gap will continue to widen.
In the 1950’s marriage rates didn’t differ very much for men with education differences. Educated women would marry less than the uneducated. Since then marriage rates have declined for both men and women with less education.
Not only have marriage rates for our Americans with high school diplomas changed but the divorces for this group are 20% higher than the college graduate . The change has become pronounced since the 1990’s.
Researches from the Brookings institution have pointed to several factors related to the marriage gap among class differences. One there is a smaller group of men with good paying jobs who are less educated. There is surge of incarceration among men with lower education. The earning gap between men and women has lessened. Women no longer get the same budget boost by being married. Welfare programs penalize people for marriage, lowering the benefit for married couples. Among the less educated cohabitations is less likely to lead to marriage than for the educated.
According to the Us News Report article I garnered this information, It sums up by saying.
“Marriage has immense economic benefits that the rich continue to reap but that the poor don’t accumulate in a time when income inequality already is skyrocketing.
Married couples typically have higher incomes than single-parent households or cohabiting couples, a disparity that has only widened in the wake of the Great Recession. Married couples have more assets – often owning homes – are more likely to have access to checking and savings accounts, and are more likely to have health insurance.”
Thanks for the in-depth information. Also, I believe the sacredness of marriage was tarnished by the accelerating divorce rate starting in the seventies resulting in serial monogamy for many.