Summary: Here we look at two stories that powerfully illustrate the trends that are creating a New America on the ashes of the old. It’s not too late to stop this process. Doing so becomes more difficult each day. Soon it will be too late to stop, let alone reverse — it will become our legacy to our children.
Here are two stories showing outlines of the New America now emerging. They’re worth reading in full.
- An artistocrat mingles with the proles
- Building an unequal America thru poor schools
The many trends concentrating wealth and income are not just happening; these reflect long-standing policies of elements in our ruling elites.
This requires no conspiracy, just like-minded people in an open-source movement. There are nodes, key individuals and institutions (mostly non-profit think-tanks). It is an open-sourced insurgency, as described in John Robb’s great book Brave New War.
(1) One of our national leaders mingles with the common people
This is a oft-told story in oligarchic societies. An aristocrat wanders among the peasants, learns about their lives, returns home and shares her tale about their colorful but hard lives. It’s just an anecdote because nothing happens as a result of this experience.
“‘This was really eye-opening for me’: Fed’s Raskin shocked at low quality of work at local job fair”, Reuters, 17 June 2013 — Excerpt:
I became interested in this question of quality somewhat by accident. I did something atypical one day. I decided on my way into work I would stop at a jobs fair. There was a jobs fair at a local community college close to my home and I thought, instead of pounding through all this heavy data that we typically look at at the board of governors, let me just go into this job fair. It turned out to be a really interesting morning.
… This was really eye-opening for me.
(2) Building an unequal America thru poor schools
“The Great Divide: Schooling Ourselves in an Unequal America“, Rebecca Strauss, New York Times, 16 June 2013
Averages can be misleading. The familiar, one-dimensional story told about American education is that it was once the best system in the world but that now it’s headed down the drain, with piles of money thrown down after it.
The truth is that there are two very different education stories in America. The children of the wealthiest 10% or so do receive some of the best education in the world, and the quality keeps getting better.
For most everyone else, this is not the case. America’s average standing in global education rankings has tumbled not because everyone is falling, but because of the country’s deep, still-widening achievement gap between socioeconomic groups.
And while America does spend plenty on education, it funnels a disproportionate share into educating wealthier students, worsening that gap. The majority of other advanced countries do things differently, at least at the K-12 level, tilting resources in favor of poorer students.
… Historically, broad educational gains have been the biggest driver of American economic success; hence the economist’s rule of thumb that an increase of one year in a country’s average schooling level corresponds to an increase of 3 to 4% in long-term economic growth.
… No matter how much wealthier children keep gaining, there are not enough of them to raise that number. The only way America will again rise to the top in education is by lifting every student up.
For More Information
To see the big picture: America – how can we stop the quiet coup now in progress.
Posts about inequality:
- A sad picture of America, but important for us to understand, 3 November 2008 — Our low social mobility.
- The latest figures on income inequality in the USA, 9 October 2009
- An opportunity to look in the mirror, to more clearly see America, 10 November 2009
- Graph of the decade, a hidden fracture in the American political regime, 7 March 2010
- America, the land of limited opportunity. We must open our eyes to the truth., 31 March 2010
- Modern America seen in pictures. Graphs, not photos. Facts, not impressions., 13 June 2010
- Jared Bernstein examines the economic impact of raising taxes on high-income households, 30 April 2012
- How clearly do we see the rising inequality in America? How do we feel about it? Much depends on these answers., 27 September 2012
- Ugly truths about income inequality in America, which no politician dares to say, 2 October 2012