American Virtues of Hard Work and Ingenuity Delivering Less Economic Mobility to North Carolinians

Economic mobility, the ability to improve one’s economic standing, is framing policy debates across the nation amidst the current election season. A brief released today by the NC Budget and Tax Center reports that the American Dream is slipping out of reach for many Tar Heels who are facing lower rates of absolute and relative upward mobility compared to Americans on average. North Carolinians are also contending with widespread income inequality, which is correlated with lower rates of economic mobility according to research.

Is America still the “Land of Opportunity” regardless of one’s starting point in life? According to a 2011 poll conducted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Americans are pessimistic about their own economic future. The poll found that less than half of parents anticipate their children will have an improved economic standing during adulthood. Unfortunately, the parents in the bottom fifth of the income distribution who don’t share this belief have good reason. Of the children who are born into the bottom first of the income distribution, research shows 42 percent of them will likely remain there as adults. One’s starting point does in fact matter a great deal, more so here in the United States than in several European countries according to another study.

North Carolina needs policies that enable equality of opportunity, rebuild entryways into the middle class, and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared for the next generation so that their economic potential is fulfilled.

6 Comments

  1. Alex

    June 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

    The scary part of where we are now is the fact that much of the lousy economy we currently have is being funded on nothing but debt- the Federal Reserve is printing billions of worthless dollars and buying our own debt, we’re using our Social Security money to fund tax breaks, we continue to borrow large amounts from the Chinese and other countries, and government spending is totally out of control. Not a pretty picture for NC or the USA.

  2. Get Real

    June 6, 2012 at 10:51 am

    As pointed out by Robert Reich, “Obama isn’t adding to the debt every day. The debt is growing because of obligations entered into long ago, many under George W. Bush – including two giant tax cuts that went mostly to the very wealthy that were supposed to be temporary and which are still going, courtesy of Republican blackmail over raising the debt limit. In realty, government spending as a portion of GDP keeps dropping.” http://robertreich.org/

    Learn the facts.

  3. Alex

    June 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    The last time I looked ,Obama has added $ 6 trillion of new debt in just 4 years. Not shabby !

  4. david esmay

    June 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Bush era tax cuts not only depleted revenues, but also increased spending because they were deficit financed, adding to the public debt and net interest. Bush era tax cuts are adding 50 billion a year in interest spending.

  5. david esmay

    June 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Under Bush federal expenditures rose 1.3 Trillion dollars a year, from 1.9 Trillion to 3.2 Trillion. Under President Obama expenditures rose 600 billion, from 3.2 Trillion to 3.9 Trillion, and is on the decline.

  6. Doug

    June 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    According to your twisted logic David we’ll never get over the Bush years regardless of what happens !