Reason TV: Economic Mobility is Alive and Well in America!

This past week, America's "war on poverty" turned 50 years old. President Obama marked the anniversary by stating that the war has not yet been won. 

"In the richest nation on Earth, far too many children are still born into poverty. Far too few have a fair shot to escape it, and Americans of all races and backgrounds experience wages and incomes that aren't rising, making it harder to share in the opportunities a growing economy provides." 

Obama has made income inequality one of his top concerns. But what about economic mobility? Is that really getting worse? Not so, according to Scott Winship of the Brookings Institute.

"You can be concerned that there's not enough [economic] mobility or enough opportunity, but you don't have to also believe that things are getting worse."

Original release date was June 21, 2012 and the original writeup is below:

Despite having a wealth of empirical evidence on his side, it's a lonely position. Researchers, writers, and politicians on the political right (think Charles Murray in his new book Coming Apart and former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum) and on the left (Timothy Noah inThe Great Divergence and President Barack Obama) are convinced that economic mobility is shrinking.

In a series of provocative essays in a wide array of outlets, Winship demonstrates that while income inequality may indeed be growing (especially at the top end of things), mobility is not declining. As he wrote earlier this year in an article at National Review,

Using...two National Longitudinal Survey data sets, I can compare children born between 1962 and 1964 to children born between 1980 and 1982, observing their parents' incomes when they were 14 to 16 and their own incomes twelve years later when they were 26 to 28.

In contrast to [President Obama's and other's claims] of declining mobility, I found that upward mobility from poverty to the middle class rose from 51 percent to 57 percent between the early-'60s cohorts and the early-'80s ones. Rather than assert that mobility has increased, I want to simply say - at this stage of my research (which is ongoing) - that it has not declined.

If I include households that reported negative or no income, the rise in upward mobility I find is only from 51 percent to 53 percent, which is not a statistically meaningful increase. But the data provide absolutely no evidence that economic mobility declined, whereas the president said it had fallen by ten percentage points.

Winship sat down with Reason's Nick Gillespie to talk about why people mistake growth in income inequality for decreases in economic mobility and how mobility might be increased from where it's been for the past 40 or 50 years.

About 5.28 minutes.

Produced by Anthony L. Fisher; camera by Jim Epstein and Meredith Bragg.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • SIV||

    Didn't there used to be comments here? I kinda remember something about how unattainably hot plus-sized models are.

  • ||

    Wow, something like 80 + comments went down the Reason Memory Hole.

  • playa manhattan||

    Whoa.

  • playa manhattan||

    One thing I like about Tom Brady: He points to who he wants blocked when his O-line is facing away from him.

  • ||

    Luck will be an American hero if he can give us all Sad Tom Brady and foil the schemes of Bill Belichick in one night.

    It is once again that time of year when we put our petty differences aside and join together, as Americans, to root against Bill Belichick.

    — Radley Balko (@radleybalko) January 12, 2014


    [removed][removed]

  • ||

    Looks like...nope. There's enough time to stage a crazy Colts comeback--and it's not like they haven't done that before--but this is the Patriots and it's a lot of points.

    Damn it.

  • ||

    And with the interception...double nope. Oops. Oh well, so much for Andrew Luck.

  • playa manhattan||

  • ||

    I saw it. I envy you. It is most certainly not out in force near me. I checked two stores just today, and nothing.

    I saw that you also liked LoneWacko: the Novel. Good.

    ...and another Patriots touchdown. This is getting ugly.

  • playa manhattan||

    Do you have Bristol Farms in Seattle?

  • playa manhattan||

    Google just answered my question. Never mind.

  • playa manhattan||

    Fuck Andrew Luck and fuck everything about Stanford.

  • playa manhattan||

    I just explained Sad Tom Brady to my wife, and she said (in front of the kids) "What a pussy!"

  • Warrren||

    Will we get an explanation as to where the comments went?

  • playa manhattan||

    It's not in robots.txt yet, so probably just a glitch.

  • SIV||

    My sources say no

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    You did get an explanation. It's at the top.
    We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time.

  • ||

    The hand that wipes the comments rules the world.

  • ||

    The secret to why Dogs poop north-south can never get out.

  • playa manhattan||

    I saw your question. Maybe it's scent navigation related. Or maybe not.

  • Almanian!||

    Let this be a lesson to everyone - you can get disappeared in today's America like THAT. Just like these comments that were here. Or WERE they....?

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Where is everyone at tonite

  • Almanian!||

    They were all here, and then a neutron wave hit.

  • SIV||

    There was a weaponized plague. Everybody is now either dead or some kind of zombie/vampire hybrid.

  • playa manhattan||

    I can tell you where I would have been tonight: At a non-refundable 18 course Japanese/sushi dinner in the city that requires reservations months in advance. But then my wife got pregnant somehow.

  • SIV||

    So why can't she eat sushi?

  • playa manhattan||

    No raw fish during pregnancy.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Although the Japanese do it all the time. Still, better to not risk it for a few months.

  • SIV||

    Is that some new age religious thing?

  • playa manhattan||

    No. The risk of food borne illness from raw fish is very remote, but the effect on a fetus can be devastating.

  • playa manhattan||

    Any licensed OB/GYN in the US will advise against raw fish, alcohol, and certain medications.

  • SIV||

    Babymed.com says that's racist:

    Everybody tells you to not eat Sushi in pregnancy. But is everybody right? In Japan Sushi is considered healthy in pregnancy and there are many who believe that the American "pregnancy sushi ban" is insulting to Japanese culture.

    It speaks of ignorance and prejudice to reject one of that culture's basic foods based on unfounded health claims. In simple terms: There is no scientific evidence that Sushi can do harm when eaten in pregnancy.

  • playa manhattan||

    I have an answer that might satisfy everybody:
    Fish are handled properly in Japan for the most part, as it is one of their primary sources of protein, and it is an island nation. You never know what you are going to be served here in the US, though, as it is a huge country. If you order a tuna roll in the Wichita Airport, there's a greater chance it could fuck you up. A healthy adult contracting Listeria might have the squirts for a day or 2, but about 22% of cases of perinatal listeriosis result in stillbirth or neonatal death.

    Long story short, I don't get to eat here tonight.

  • Spoonman.||

    And, even if the food poisoning isn't Listeria and the baby ends up fine, as was thankfully the case when my wife got food poisoning while pregnant this summer, the dehydration at a time when the mother needs more fluids and stress isn't worth any meal imaginable.

    Fuck Little Italy restaurant of Fort Washington, PA.

  • SIV||

    You can't be racist against wops.

  • playa manhattan||

    Also, if the Japanese are so smart, why do they have so few babies?
    /Jerk

  • ||

    Some fish tend to build up mercury in their fat.

    Mercury in adults at small quantities really does nothing. Developing babies? yeah it becomes more of a problem.

  • SIV||

    Cooking it doesn't burn off the mercury so that is a separate issue from the "racist" raw fish ban.

  • playa manhattan||

    Bo? Is that you?

  • Bobarian||

    Do you like fish sticks?

  • SIV||

    lol! Good one!

  • Almanian!||

    Holy fuck - I finally looked at the score. 43-22. Welp - been a good season, Mr. Luck. See you in the fall!

  • playa manhattan||

    I was delayed by 30 minutes on Tivo. Fuck you.

  • playa manhattan||

    Guess I'm going out early.

  • Almanian!||

    I forgot to say "Spoiler Alert!" Sorry...

  • playa manhattan||

    My wife is from Boston, so it was a Pyrrhic victory.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Items found in teen's butt included:

    - Four bracelets
    - Four necklaces
    - 11 ladies rings
    - A socket wrench
    - A bag of synthetic marijuana

  • Warrren||

    -90 Comments from Hit n' Run

  • playa manhattan||

    I posted a comment to this effect last time:
    Fish are born knowing how to swim. Zebras are born knowing how to walk. Humans are not born knowing how to shove items into their rectums. It takes lots and lots of practice.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Sounds like all the same stuff found in Trayvon Martin's backpack.

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

  • ||

    These are pets, of course. Not quite domesticated.

  • Almanian!||

    Fucking Ryan Villopoto comes from 8th or 9th to win Phoenix Supercross. When do we get roadracing again? For the love of God!!!! I need to ride my Ninja!!!!

  • playa manhattan||

    Is Ninja your sex slave?

  • Warrren||

    Ninja please!

  • Archduke von Pantsfan||

    Are you excited for Formula E?

    Of course you're not.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    I was, but then I learned that the "E" did not stand for "Ecstasy".

  • ||

    Electric cars can accelerate faster then combustion engine cars.

  • ||

    Helix any good?

    I am skeptical because Ronald D. Moore is involved and its tag line mentions God....not a good combo

  • martyjems||

    my classmate's step-aunt makes $84/hour on the computer. She has been without a job for five months but last month her check was $21585 just working on the computer for a few hours. check out here for a work detail go to home tab....

    http://www.cash46.com

  • pan fried wylie||

    President Obama marked the anniversary by stating that the war has not yet been won.

    "In the richest nation on Earth...

    That's not winning?

  • RishJoMo||

    The rich keep on getting richer, everyone else keeps getting screwed.

    www.Anon-Global.tk

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