The points in the slide below are from a course on political polarization. The question for credit unions might be how they can address the lack of mobility especially by the lower income quartiles?
Is this a community impact opportunity for cooperatives? How might it be measured?
- Most people (even most Republicans) believe that the federal government should attempt to increase the equality of opportunity to get ahead.
- Many people regard the U.S. as “The Land of Opportunity”
- But many researchers have reached a conclusion that turns conventional wisdom on its head: Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe.
- “It’s becoming conventional wisdom that the U.S. does not have as much mobility as most other advanced countries. I don’t think you’ll find too many people who will argue with that.” *
- A project led by Markus Jantti, an economist at a Swedish university, found that 42 percent of American men raised in the bottom fifth of incomes stay there as adults. That shows a level of persistent disadvantage much higher than in Denmark (25 percent) and Britain (30 percent) — a country famous for its class constraints.
- Meanwhile, just 8 percent of American men at the bottom rose to the top fifth. That compares with 12 percent of the British and 14 percent of the Danes.
- While liberals often complain that the US has unusually large income gaps, many conservatives have argued that the system is fair because mobility is especially high, too: everyone can climb the ladder.
- Now the evidence suggests that America is not only less equal, but also less mobile.
* Isabel V. Sawhill, an economist at the Brookings Institution