The ‘Wise Old Man’ is enjoyable to visit, based not on his intellect but his ‘wisdom’ of living life, observing, and sharing his thoughts of history and what we can learn from the lessons of history.
According to the ‘Wise Old Man’ there was a time when all classes shared. There was social mobility and people realized that money does not cascade down, but no more. Money is more important in D.C. than logic. Associations and Unions were important to help build the middle class and help create social mobility, but no more. People from India had childhood dreams of coming to America and becoming successful, but no more. America is no longer their dream. Their dream is Australia or Canada.
The fact that the rich continue to get richer should surprise no one. What may be a surprise, however, is that the notion that hard work can lead a person from rags to riches is largely a fantasy.
As recorded in the Independent Report, the U.S. has less economic mobility than Canada and much of Western Europe, according to economic research cited by The New York Times. Seven in ten Americans that start out in the bottom fifth of family income stay in the lower class as adults, and more than six in ten Americans that start out in the top family income quintile stay in the upper class as adults, according to a July report by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
In other words, if you are born rich or poor you are likely to remain that way throughout your lifetime. America is simply not the “land of opportunity” that many believe it is. The ‘Wise Old Man’ believes education can help create opportunity.
A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) finds that America is 10th in social mobility between generations, dramatically lower than in nine other developed countries. This means that America is now 10th in the world in the American dream
There is no doubt that having a healthy middle class is necessary to have a healthy economy.
But lots of low-wage jobs will not get us there. Too many Americans are in long term economic decline. And it should be no surprise that our economy is following right along.
“The tidal wave of low-wage jobs is dragging us down and the wage problem is not going to go away anytime soon,” says Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy.
This inequality could lead to social instability. The American dream is getting further out of reach for too many Americans, and our economy is suffering for it.
The America that our parents and grandparents grew up in will be changed for the worse. The ‘Wise Old Man’ may be right when he stated “What was valuable in the past could be the future.”