Inequality: Why the poor are getting poorer

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Why is America a nation of growing inequality?

The yawning economic and cultural gap between
the well-to-do and the working class—now wider
than at almost any point in our history—has
academics and pundits searching for explanations.
Now, a new Harvard study provides an
illuminating—and “horrifying”—insight into
what’s going on. The affluent and the working
classes, the study found, are raising their children
in “starkly different ways”—virtually dooming
the poorer kids to a life at the bottom. In recent
years, college-educated parents have massively
ramped up the amount of time and money they
spend on activities that enrich their kids’ education,
brainpower, and social skills, from reading
to them at night to spending thousands on after-school
activities and private tutors. Working-class
parents aren’t keeping up. As a result, their kids’
grades and test scores are lagging, and their
chances to move up the ladder are dwindling.
So are their chances of growing up in a traditional


A stunning 60 percent of births among
non-college-educated women now occur outside
of marriage; among college-educated women,
it’s just 10 percent. Single moms are often
overwhelmed by work and family responsibilities,
and kids suffer as a result. A mountain of
research shows that single-parent kids are “more
likely than similar children with married parents
to experience childhood poverty, act up in
class, become teenage parents, and drop out of


So it’s time liberals stopped promoting
the lie that all families are equal. If the Left really
cares about inequality, it needs to accept that
“married parents are more likely to have prosperous,
healthy, stable families than single parents.”
Most liberals long ago conceded that point.


But family structure is only half the picture. Today,
social mobility is greater—and inequality less stark
in countries such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden,
Germany, and Canada. “What do these countries
have in common?” They guarantee health care
to all, provide more-affordable college educations,
and levy higher taxes on the wealthy. Their
government policies deliberately seek to level the
playing field, and to give everyone equal opportunity.
Unless we follow these successful societies’
example—and adopt policies “to offset the
radical redistribution toward the very rich”—the
American dream will be doomed.