The Fading American Dream

more-moneyAre you living the American Dream?

Most people consider several variables when constructing a personal response to whether or not they and their families are living the American Dream.  Rather than address all such factors, I invite you to consider the economic component.

A couple of years ago I shared information that suggested the economic piece of living the American Dream required an income of at least $130K for a family of four.

Yesterday I read a NY Times editorial that referenced The Equality of Opportunity Project.  This project has done extensive research in order to compute the percentage of Americans who earn more money or less money than their parents earned at the same age.

Every birth group since 1940 has experienced a decline in the likelihood of making more money than their parents.

chance-of

Reality Check: Why is this happening?

Put simply, the odds of anyone born in America since 1980 making more money than their parents did at the same age are not good and are getting worse.  Rising income inequality is the leading factor for this shift. When the data was modeled using the same GDP growth but without including the rise in income inequality the percentage of people born in 1980 who would out earn their parents rose from 50 to 80%.

So What?

The life well lived according to the Way of Jesus and the American Dream are far from identical.  These two ways of measuring the good life do, however, feature significant overlap.  Both uphold the value and importance of human life and the opportunity for human flourishing.  Neither is well served by economic systems designed to make the rich richer at the expense of everyone else.

  • What data within this blog post was new to you?  What is your initial reaction to it?
  • How does your faith inform your opinions and activism related to income inequality?

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