As one of the people in the lower orders of the “ordinary rich” class, I am quite aware of the separation, by several orders of magnitude, between my own position and the space at the top of the economic food chain occupied by the lords of finance. My own personal concerns echo much of what you wrote in the article—if I lost my job, where would I go? I’d find something, but I doubt it would replace my current income dollar for dollar. If I faced a period of unemployment longer than 2/3 months, I’d essentially be bankrupt. There have been multiple foreclosures and sheriff’s sales in my unfinished new construction neighborhood, the developer is in bankruptcy, and we’re on our third builder at this point—I wonder if it will ever be completely finished. I bought my house in 2008 as prices were already beginning to drop, but they have fallen so much further since then that I’ve got an upside down mortgage and I am basically trapped. I worry about how I’m going to be able to retire, or have health care when I retire. I worry about being able to pay for my kids college educations—even saving enough for 4 years of tuition at a state college is daunting. More than anything else though, I worry about the sort of opportunities they will have.
One thought on immigration—might the failure of 2/3rd generation children of post 1970’s immigrants to “catch up” be primarily due to failures in our educational system, which are more extreme in the urban and poor rural schools where immigrant children tend to cluster and predominate? If so, another casualty of our failure to invest in our own future, and our self-destructive preference for channeling benefits to the old, rather than to the young.