The time has come to inject some political opining into Fried Sage. Getting into political discussions at the hair salon tends to get the juices flowing. Listening to NPR will do that, too ... especially with only 6 weeks to go.
On the "On Point" NPR show today, they were discussing some alarming findings about poverty and the middle class in America. A fellow with the Brookings Institute shared some of the findings from their research. They defined certain benchmarks as a measure of how well children in America are succeeding along the path to middleclassdom. The benchmark at age 19 is for a kid to: graduate from high school with a GPA of at least 2.5, not be convicted of a crime, and not become a parent.
Currently, 57% of American kids are meeting this benchmark. That means pretty close to half of all kids are either not graduating from high school or are doing so with very poor grades, have criminal records, and/or are having babies. One of the other experts on the show was comparing our rich-poor gap with countries like Rwanda.
Making the rich richer is not the answer. I'm talking to you, Republican party. Their candidate has made it perfectly clear that he cannot relate to the 99%, he has no desire to relate, and he doesn't even have the ability to pretend to relate.
I won't go down the ranting path any longer (for now). I really just wanted to share those disturbing findings. The discussion on the show began with a soundbite of Paul Ryan's speech at the RNC in which he claims that there are three basic keys to making it to the middle class: graduating from high school, working hard, and marrying before having children. The Brookings fellow agreed that doing those three things can help, but that is over-simplification at best. She said the biggest factor is whether you are born into a rich family or poor family, and of course no kid gets that choice.