Thursday, March 28, 2013

America is Still the Land of Opportunity

We hear a great deal about income inequality in America and how the middle class is in danger of being left behind.

We hear it, but that doesn't make it true. America is very much the land of opportunity.

For some interesting facts abut all this, let's look at what economist Thomas Sowell has to say in Notable & Quotable:

"Those "social scientists," journalists and others who are committed to the theory that social barriers keep people down often cite statistics showing that the top income brackets receive a disproportionate and growing share of the country's income.

But the very opposite conclusion arises in studies that follow actual flesh-and-blood individuals over time, most of whom move up across the various income brackets with the passing years. Most working Americans who were initially in the bottom 20 percent of income-earners, rise out of that bottom 20 percent. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain in the bottom 20 percent.

People who were initially in the bottom 20 percent in income have had the highest rate of increase in their incomes, while those who were initially in the top 20 percent have had the lowest. This is the direct opposite of the pattern found when following income brackets over time, rather than following individual people.

Most of the media publicize what is happening to the statistical brackets— especially that "top one percent"—rather than what is happening to individual people.

We should be concerned with the economic fate of flesh-and-blood human beings, not waxing indignant over the fate of abstract statistical brackets. Unless, of course, we are hustling for an expansion of the welfare state."

Summing Up

Based on both personal experience and observation, what Thomas Sowell says rings very true to me.

We do indeed live in a wonderful country with opportunities for all to 'grab the brass ring.'

At least that's what I've found to be the case.

As Robert Browning said about the need to reach for more than we can see or get our hands on at any particular point in time, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp --- or what's a heaven for?"

So if that's the case, and it most certainly is, why then do so many political 'progressives' want to deny Americans an equal opportunity to 'fail forward' by pursuing our dreams? Why do they act as if they know what's best for us? And why do so many of us listen to them?

Why can't we just decide what to do for ourselves and then 'just do it?' Isn't that still the American way? Don't we still live in the land of opportunity?

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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