What Happens in the One Percent, Stays in the One Percent

Despite conservatives' denials about income inequality and the validity of the Occupy movement's mission, recent surveys show that the protest's rallying cry—"We are the 99 percent"—strikes a chord with many Americans. The economic mobility that once seemed a basic feature of American life has faded away; the U.S. now stands behind Denmark, Canada, and Britain, among others, when it comes to social mobility—62 percent of Americans born into the top two-fifths of the income distribution stay in that bracket, a far larger sum than in Britain (30 percent). The middle class retains a far higher degree of mobility—about 36 percent of Americans raised in the middle-fifth move up as adults—but people at either end of the economic spectrum are unlikely to budge.


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