Mediocrity in America

Topics: Family, United States, Wealth Pages: 2 (611 words) Published: October 26, 2005
Many Americans believe that we live in a society that allows everyone the same opportunity for success. This however, is not the case. According to the article and many studies, this opportunity is decreasing and if nothing is done, the very ideals on which our country stands could no longer exist. Income inequality is growing and there are less chances for social advancement, especially for those who are in the lower classes. The United States is running the risk of turning into class-bases society, similar to those seen in Europe.

The Economic Policy Institute argues that between 1979 and 2000 the real income of households in the bottom 20% of earners grew by 6.4%, while the households in the top 20% grew by 70%. An even more amazing statistic is the income of the top 1% grew by 184% and the top 0.1% grew faster. In 2001, the top households earned 20% of all income and held 33.4% or all net worth. These numbers have not been seen since the pre-Depression days. By looking at the facts, it is no surprise that things are the way they are. The wealthiest people are staying wealthy while the poorest are staying poor.

The inequality does not seem to be coming with any social mobility. A point the article makes is that this is especially seen in the political world. Our country instills the idea that anyone has the opportunity to become president. However, this idea is disappearing due to the creation of the political elite. An example is George Bush. He is the son of a former president, grandson of a senator, and was born into a multi-million dollar family. This trend of wealthy politicians is lengthening the gap between those who make decisions and the people who live under those decisions.

Social mobility is declining. A survey done in 1978 found that 23% of adult men who were born into the bottom fifth of the population made in to the top fifth. Earl Wysong of Indiana University did a study from 1979-1998 and found that very few sons from these families...
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