Upward mobility, a hallmark of the culture of the United States, indeed, the essence of what we call the American Dream, is stymied as never before in our history. Not surprisingly, the result is dependency.
IWF is hosting an all-star panel on the middle class on Oct. 27, and thus this nuggett in Victor Davis Hanson's article this morning comparing contemporary U.S. to medieval Europe particularly struck me:
Today, a fifth of American households have zero or negative net worth. The shrinking middle classes struggle to service trillions of dollars in consumer and student debt to big banks — in the manner of medieval peasants.
In the medieval world, impoverished serfs pledged loyalty to barons in exchange for their food and housing on the manor. In the modern world, progressive government is the bastion that distributes entitlements on the expectation that the masses show their political fealty at election time.
I am predicting that IWF's panel will delve headlong into this alarming topic of stalled mobility and even come up with some recommendations as to how the middle class might once again thrive.
(By the way, I am not a classicist like Hanson, but I do believe his portrait of the middle ages, during which enormous scientific and intellectual achievements were made, is a bit bleaker than the period deserves. For an alternative view, go here.)