Mobility Impaired

Source: Scott Winship, National Review, November 14, 2011

…When the Pew Economic Mobility Project (EMP) surveyed people about what the American Dream meant, it got widely ranging answers. Indiana’s governor, Mitch Daniels, recently hit on a common sentiment when he observed that “upward mobility from the bottom is the crux of the American promise.” But even those who would focus more broadly on the rising tide that lifts all boats should be concerned about the state of economic mobility in America. The economic inefficiency that results when much of the population is stuck at the bottom (and the top) means the tide may lift everyone less than it could….Broad-based economic growth, international competitiveness, and the ideals composing the American Dream all require that policymakers heed Governor Daniels’s call. Increasing upward absolute mobility — for all, but with a particular focus on those who start out at the bottom — should be the primary goal of policymakers. The first political party that commits itself to putting upward mobility first and that credibly takes on the challenge will be ascendant.

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