Editorial: A Stuck Elevator

Publication: The Courier-Journal

01/09/2012 - Pulling oneself up by his or her own bootstraps?

Maybe not so much anymore.

Recent reports stemming from U.S. Census data show that the bootstraps have become too long, and the strength to pull isn’t a match for the weights tied to the straps.

In today’s America, one in 15 people is now among the nation’s poorest poor, a record high. That statistic is alarming enough on its own. But when that shocking indicator is added to other studies showing a stubborn, even insidious, “mobility gap” in America —in other words, how the poor in this country are more likely to stay poor as opposed to those in Canada or Western Europe — the viability of the American dream is being called into serious question.


A Pew Charitable Trusts study shows that 62 percent of American men and women raised in the top fifth stay in the top two-fifths of incomes, and that 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths.

Read the full editorial, A Stuck Elevator, on The Courier-Journal's Web site.

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