Friday, April 28, 2006

Baloney Detection Kit: Political Version

Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is propaganda in the mass media.  Since this is Friday, when bloggers traditionally blog about their pets, I thought I would write about my pet peeve.

In this case, however, I am please to report that a journalist was using his Baloney Detection Kit (term © Borac) and actually wrote an article that dispels a common myth that is ensconced in American psyche.  

As a little ironic twist, the author's name is Alister Bull.
Rags-to-riches dream an illusion: study
Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:40pm ET
by: Alister Bull

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - America may still think of itself as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world, according to a new study published on Wednesday.

The likelihood that a child born into a poor family will make it into the top five percent is just one percent, according to "Understanding Mobility in America", a study by economist Tom Hertz from American University.

By contrast, a child born rich had a 22 percent chance of being rich as an adult, he said.

"In other words, the chances of getting rich are about 20 times higher if you are born rich than if you are born in a low-income family," he told an audience at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank sponsoring the work. [link added]

He also found the United States had one of the lowest levels of inter-generational mobility in the wealthy world, on a par with Britain but way behind most of Europe. [emphasis added]
This, of course, is a corollary of the principle that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.  Despite all the talk about developing an "ownership society," the fact is that the income gap in the USA is getting wider.