A new study confirms what the old ones show: Income mobility—the ability to move between social class—has not changed over the past 40 or 50 years. So why, asks Nick Gillespie, does President Barack Obama insist that growing income inequality means declining rates of mobility?:
From a political perspective, the erroneous but strategic conflation of inequality and mobility makes obvious sense. After all, if mobility is as alive and well as it has been in the post-war era, then the sense of urgency the president needs to sell any legislation is largely undercut. As important, constant mobility rates also make a mockery of the president's long-preferred strategy of redistributing income from the top of the income ladder down to the lower rungs. Whether he's talking to Joe the Plumber (god, that seems like a different planet, doesn't it?) or addressing Congress, Obama rarely misses an opportunity to ask richer Americans to "do a little bit more."