In America, common belief is that one born with nothing can work hard to gain anything, when this is clearly not the case. People accept meager wages and conditions with the idea that it is simply a stepping-stone to better things. What causes some people to view their disadvantages as being positive? The newspaper, “The Economist”, believes that the success of minority figures such as Obama define a high degree social mobility in American culture. Many are not improving from their parent’s positions, and few maintain it if not falling below. There are several factors including income inequality, family background and lack of opportunity for mobility that contribute to this decline. What are the disadvantages will we suffer as Americans you ask? I will outline the trends and evidence to support the decline and future effects as it continues.
The apparent decline in social mobility is contrary to what most Americans believe to be the “Land of Opportunity”. As much as we would like to believe that everyone has the same opportunities to advance, this is simply not true. Stories tell of people who far exceeded what any normal person could hope to achieve realistically, something far beyond their means. While it is certainly possible for someone to exceed his or her social class, it is simply more complicated than winning the lottery or a stroke of luck. Wealth and education both are heavy factors of determining a person’s ability to move up or down the latter of class, with some regards to family background and disadvantage. This also applies to an individual’s opportunity to attend college due to their social circumstance and financial responsibilities.
According to the “Nation Center of Education Statistics,” Sixty-six percent of all undergraduates received some type of financial aid in 2007–08, and this number dropped significantly in 2009-11 as government funding diminished and availability of such funds became scarce. For individuals supporting their family and making ends meet, they simply cannot afford to attend college without working full-time. Without financial aid, it is nearly impossible for disadvantaged students to attend college, none the less pay for their heaping student loans. Government spending for community colleges alone has dropped by from $10 billion to about $2 billion in recent times according to “The Economist.” The people who come from families with a higher rating of wealth or economic status, are far more likely to be able to get their education and attain wealth.
What does this mean for people who do not have financial assistance or sufficient parental income? Without access to an education, social mobility remains stalled in the long term, and the “rich-poor” gap grows wider. The connection between an education and gained wealth is clear; people who attend college and earn a degree have a much lower unemployment rate, and higher income versus people who did not attend college. According to “United States...