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Michael Gerson: Let's focus more on economic mobility than income inequality

Liberals are right that a combination of rising economic inequality (even if the rise is gradual) with stalled economic mobility is an invitation to destructive social resentments. Americans will accept unequal economic outcomes in a fair system. They object when the results seem rigged. That way lies the Bastille.

So the question comes to liberals and conservatives: If social mobility is the goal, what are the solutions? What can be done to improve the quality of teachers in failing schools, to confront the high school dropout crisis, to encourage college attendance and completion, to reduce teen pregnancy, to encourage stable marriages, to promote financial literacy, to spark entrepreneurship?

Both Democrats and Republicans should have something to contribute to the development of this agenda. Neither party, however, currently has much to say. And this is not likely to change until the discussion turns from equality to mobility.

Comments

Notorious Ph.D. said…
"Mobility" would require us to undo the work of 1980-present did of gutting the middle class and implementing policies that have made wealth and privilege a closed and self-perpetuating system.

And even if that did happen, switching who gets to stand on what side of the equality gap does not solve the problem, which is that many people work hard and can't get ahead.

(Entire firebrand revolutionary paragraph deleted here.)
Monkey RobbL said…
"Americans will accept unequal economic outcomes in a fair system. They object when the results seem rigged. That way lies the Bastille."

Yes, I agree.

I disagree with where he thinks the solutions will come, for the most part. Getting more kids to go to college isn't the solution, it's part of the problem. The educational system itself is part of the "rigged" results machine.

But even acknowledging that the system is deeply rigged toward large corporations and the already-wealthy is an acknowledgement that I don't expect from either major party.

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