Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Trans-Generational Poverty

Trans-Generational Poverty

“In fact, recent research for the U.S. population shows that the exact opposite of Glenn
Hubbard’s claim is true: while a child’s income might deviate from that of his family for a few
years, the longer one compares economic outcomes, the more the experience of the children
reproduce that of their fathers. Studies of economic mobility typically predict the son’s or daughter’s income on the basis of father’s income, correcting only for the age of parent and child. As recently as 1988, economists thought that a father’s earnings were only weakly correlated with his children’s income. Recently, however, new data sources have permitted studies that look at ten times as many father-children pairs (3000 versus 300) for periods as long as sixteen years.3 These studies show that the longer the period over which income is averaged, the higher the correlation between the incomes of fathers and children. That is to say, there is indeed a lot of year-to-year income variation over a worker’s lifetime. But averaged over many years, the income of the father is a very strong predictor of the income of the son or daughter. The correlation is even higher for families with low wealth, the poor, than for the wealthy; it is also higher for black families than for white.” The Century Foundation http://www.tcf.org/Publications/EconomicsInequality/ClassWarfare/myth4.pdf

While doing research on a piece about the ongoing and escalating class warfare in AmeriKKKa, I came across a report from The Century Foundation an organization whose Website says it “is dedicated to infusing the nation’s critical public policy debates with solid research and expert assessments. We call attention to facts and present analyses that debunk widespread misconceptions and provide policymakers and the public with new ideas for addressing the challenges facing the nation. Much of the work of the Foundation is aimed at challenging broad claims about the advantages of privatization, tax cuts, and market solutions and questioning assumptions about the ineffectiveness of safety net programs, education reform efforts, and government oversight.” http://www.tcf.org/about.asp The report I reviewed was entitled Class Warfare Fact or Fiction. I looked at Myth # 4 which says, “Over the course of their lifetimes, Americans are highly likely to enjoy upward economic mobility”. In other words the ol’ Horatio Algier rags to riches tale. The report was written by a man named Bernard Wasow but he quoted liberally from a study by Thomas Hertz entitled Rags, Riches and Race: The Intergenerational Economic Mobility of Black and White Families in the United States. Thomas Hertz documented something most of us already know, if you are African-American and your father was/is poor more than likely you will be poor too! Hertz’ studies hold true for poor whites but more so for poor blacks. What Hertz, an American University Economics professor says in his study is that for blacks the issue of poverty is more about race, than class. However since the masses of Africans In AmeriKKKa are not wealthy or rich most blacks are on the bottom rungs of the socio-economic ladder, it stands to reason as the AmeriKKKan economy tanks as it has been doing for a while, more and more blacks will go down with the ship especially since so many are being born into impoverished single parent families.
For whites, the dynamics of socio-economic class/caste are becoming almost as rigid as they are for Africans in AmeriKKKa according to a new line of research and investigation. A recent Wall Street Journal article pretty much bursts the Horatio Algier myth (which by the way was the focal point of The Century Foundation piece I referred to earlier) “As Mr. Mazumder, the Chicago Fed economist, put it in the title of a recent book chapter: ‘The apple falls even closer to the tree than we thought.’ Why aren't the escalators working better? Figuring out how parents pass along economic status, apart from the obvious but limited factor of financial bequests, is tough. But education appears to play an important role. In contrast to the 1970s, a college diploma is increasingly valuable in today's job market. The tendency of college grads to marry other college grads and send their children to better elementary and high schools and on to college gives their children a lasting edge. The notion that the offspring of smart, successful people are also smart and successful is appealing, and there is a link between parent and child IQ scores. But most research finds IQ isn't a very big factor in predicting economic success. In the U.S., race appears to be a significant reason that children's economic success resembles their parents'. From 32 years of data on 6,273 families recorded by the University of Michigan's long-running survey, American University economist Tom Hertz calculates that 17 percent of whites born to the bottom 10 percent of families ranked by income remained there as adults, but 42 percent of the blacks did. Perhaps as a consequence, public-opinion surveys find African-Americans more likely to favor government redistribution programs than whites.” As rich-poor gap widens in U.S., Class Mobility Stalls- by David Wessel, The Wall Street Journal articles says, quite succinctly “But the reality of mobility in America is more complicated than the myth. As the gap between rich and poor has widened since 1970, the odds that a child born in poverty will climb to wealth -- or a rich child will fall into the middle class -- remain stuck. Despite the spread of affirmative action, the expansion of community colleges and the other social change designed to give people of all classes a shot at success, Americans are no more or less likely to rise above, or fall below, their parents' economic class than they were 35 years ago. Although Americans still think of their land as a place of exceptional opportunity -- in contrast to class-bound Europe -- the evidence suggests otherwise. And scholars have, over the past decade, come to see America as a less mobile society than they once believed.” Given the current economic realities where former Blue Chip giants like GM and Ford teeter on the verge of bankruptcy and their hourly workers are being asked to make gargantuan pay and benefit sacrifices, what does this mean for future generations when these current hourly wage earners are forced to take massive cuts in their wages and standards of living?
Another article looking at class warfare in AmeriKKKa stated, “It should also be noted that the Wall Street Journal's focus only on income mobility leads it significantly understate the real degree of socioeconomic immobility in the U.S. The astonishing extent of American socioeconomic and related racial disparity becomes more fully evident when you factor in wealth. In the U.S., the most unequal nation in the industrialized world, the top 1 percent owns more than 40 percent of the wealth. The top 10 percent owns two-thirds of US wealth, leaving the rest of us - 90 percent of the population - to fight it out for one third of the nation's assets. Things get worse, again, when you factor in race. By 1999, economist Thomas Shapiro finds, the ‘net worth (all assets minus all liabilities) of typical white families was $81,000 compared to $8,000 for black families’ in the US. By the recessionary year of 2002, black net worth fell to seven cents on the white dollar.” http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=7954 What they are saying Brothers and Sistahs is the wealth gap is widening and when you factor for race, the divide is more expansive and longer lasting! Recent reports in the New York Times based upon research paint a very bleak picture for African-American males. We are more likely to be unemployed, homeless, on probation or parole and incarcerated than our Euro-American counterparts. And our life expectancy is less than white males also. While researchers do acknowledge education as a key factor in “upward mobility”, our experiences here in AmeriKKKa suggests higher educational advancement does not cancel out racism! And researchers are fond of telling us more African-American males are incarcerated than attend college. So the prospects look grim. Is there a solution? Yes, but it means rethinking and redefining our status and position in this country. It means taking a positive proactive ethnocentric, race first survivalist approach rather than a “victim” or beggars’ mentality. Are we targets of white animus? Of course. Is it going to change any time soon? Not hardly. To survive, we have to decide to opt out of the mind control matrix and think about our situation from an intelligent historically based perspective rather than an ostrich head in the sand approach pretending this is not our reality. One person can’t have all the answers but ancestors like Booker T Washington, Marcus Garvey, Elijah Muhammad, Pop Singleton and others exhorted us to be self-sufficient, industrious and have a race first attitude. Survival means more than having a job, it is about creating values, culture, institutions and lifestyles that nurture and support us mentally, spiritually as well as physically. As the AmeriKKKa Empire implodes and crumbles, it is incumbent upon us to have a collective strategy to save ourselves, or we will surely go down with the ship.

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