Sunday, January 26, 2014

Last Call For The American Dream

Income mobility in the United States depends very, very much on where you live.  If you're poor in a state like Utah, you've got opportunities.  If you're poor in a state like South Carolina, you basically have no chance.  The results from a landmark study looking at where the best and worst metro areas to be poor in America shouldn't shock anyone.

It's no surprise then that the worst states to be poor in are the Carolinas and Georgia.  Your odds of moving up in the world when you're poor in those areas are 1 in 4, maybe 1 in 3 at best.  It's twice that in other parts of the country.  Salt Lake City is number one, and Charlotte is dead last (yes, even worse than Detroit.  So is Raleigh, Indy, and Atlanta.)

What do these areas with the least mobility have in common?  The Altlantic's Matthew O'Brien:

1. Race. The researchers found that the larger the black population, the lower the upward mobility. But this isn't actually a black-white issue. It's a rich-poor one. Low-income whites who live in areas with more black people also have a harder time moving up the income ladder. In other words, it's something about the places that black people live that hurts mobility. 
2. Segregation. Something like the poor being isolated—isolated from good jobs and good schools. See, the more black people a place has, the more divided it tends to be along racial and economic lines. The more divided it is, the more sprawl there is. And the more sprawl there is, the less higher-income people are willing to invest in things like public transit.  
That leaves the poor in the ghetto, with no way out for their American Dreams. They're stuck with bad schools, bad jobs, and bad commutes if they do manage to find better work. So it should be no surprise that the researchers found that racial segregation, income segregation, and sprawl are all strongly negatively correlated with upward mobility. But what might surprise is that it doesn't matter whether the rich cut themselves off from everybody else. What matters is whether the middle class cut themselves off from the poor. 
3. Social Capital. Living around the middle class doesn't just bring better jobs and schools (which help, but probably aren't enough). It brings better institutions too. Things like religious groups, civic groups, and any other kind of group that keeps people from bowling alone. All of these are strongly correlated with more mobility—which is why Utah, with its vast Mormon safety net and services, is one of the best places to be born poor. 
4. Inequality. The 1 percent are different from you and me—they have so much more money that they live in a different world. It's a world of $40,000 a year preschool, "nanny consultants," and an endless supply of private tutors. It keeps the children of the super-rich from falling too far, but it doesn't keep the poor from rising (at least into the top quintile). There just wasn't any correlation between the rise and rise of the 1 percent and upward mobility. In other words, it doesn't hurt your chances of making it into the top 80 to 99 percent if the super-rich get even richer. 
But inequality does matter within the bottom 99 percent. The bigger the gap between the poor and the merely rich (as opposed to the super-rich), the less mobility there is. It makes intuitive sense: it's easier to jump from the bottom near the top if you don't have to jump as far. The top 1 percent are just so high now that it doesn't matter how much higher they go; almost nobody can reach them. 
5. Family Structure. Forget race, forget jobs, forget schools, forget churches, forget neighborhoods, and forget the top 1—or maybe 10—percent. Nothing matters more for moving up than who raises you. Or, in econospeak, nothing correlates with upward mobility more than the number of single parents, divorcees, and married couples. The cliché is true: Kids do best in stable, two-parent homes.

It's a stark reminder that Oh, and locally, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis are all in the bottom 10 cities for mobility.  Ohio is nearly as bad as the Carolinas and Georgia.  If you're poor here, you're going to stay poor.   Why?  We refuse to invest in our cities, our infrastructure, and our people.  The Republican plan to fix all this?  Cut taxes on the rich and corporations, so there's even less revenue to invest, cut investment in schools, transportation and public safety, and inequality gets worse.  Meanwhile, the rich take their social capital and move to the exurbs, or as with Cincy, gentrified downtown areas and price out the poor.

There are developing nations with better income mobility than Charlotte.  Because America, right?

Hostage Crisis For All The Boys And Girls

Just a reminder that both Kentucky senators are dangerous idiots.  Mitch The Turtle on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: So are you saying right here, “We are going to attach something to the debt ceiling”? And if so, what? 
MCCONNELL: What I’m saying is we ought to attach something significant for the country to [President Obama's] request to increase the debt ceiling. That’s been the pattern for 50 years, going back to the Eisenhower administration. I think it’s the responsible thing to do for the country. [...] 
We’re never going to default — the Speaker and I have made that clear. We’ve never done that. But, it’s irresponsible not to use the discussion — the request of the President to raise the debt ceiling — to try to accomplish something for the country.

It's irresponsible to not hold the country's economy hostage to get what you want.  So please proceed, congressional Republicans, and remind America why you have a 19% approval rating.

The Kids Are Not Alright With Rand Paul

To recap the Rand Paul stance on government, kids, and poverty: government has no role in birth control or safe abortion services because they're both immoral and children must be brought into the world, but government should be used to punish women for having too many children.

During a Lexington luncheon Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul discussed the possibility of cutting government benefits for unwed mothers who have multiple children, though the potential Republican candidate for president in 2016 didn't directly endorse such a policy. 
During a question-and-answer period following his remarks at a Commerce Lexington luncheon, Paul responded to a question about workforce development by including a warning about unwed young mothers doomed to poverty.
Although he said the job of preventing unplanned or unwanted pregnancies should be left to communities and families, Paul left open the possibility of a role for government. 
"Maybe we have to say 'enough's enough, you shouldn't be having kids after a certain amount,'" Paul told the business group at one point. 
An aide to Paul declined to comment Thursday night when asked to clarify the senator's statements about unwed mothers. 
Paul told the audience that being "married with kids versus unmarried with kids is the difference between living in poverty and not."

So what glibertairans really can't stand is single motherhood.  It all comes down to punishing the sluts and whores who dare to have sex without being married.  Why?  They tend to vote Democrat, of course.

Besides, how does cutting off assistance for single mothers help get mothers and kids out of poverty, especially when Republicans refuse to acknowledge that government helping to provide birth control is cheaper than providing SNAP and other safety net programs, or the state taking the children and putting them in foster care?

Paul then "clarified" his answers earlier today:

"I mused about how you'd have a government policy, but I actually came down saying it would be very difficult to have a government policy," the potential 2016 presidential candidate said. 
"I mostly concluded by saying it's a community, it's a religious, it's a personal problem, but it is a problem," Paul said.

Government is hard.  Let God sort it out.

[UPDATE]  Steve M nails it:

The GOP has been telling us for years now that there's no racism in America anymore (except anti-white racism) and anyone who thinks otherwise is a dupe living on the "liberal plantation." You can see the success of that in the massive black vote Republicans are able to run up in every election. 
Since that talking point is working so well for Republicans, Rand Paul figures it'll work even better with The Ladiez.

There's no racism except for anti-white hatred, and there's no sexism except for misandry from feminazis.

You know, I don't see so much that women are downtrodden. I see women rising up and doing great things. In fact, I worry about our young men sometimes because I think the women really are out-competing the men in our world.

If you believe that the only victims in America are white men, Rand Paul's your candidate.

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