Our Classless Society
“What if the focus wasn’t on selling up and moving on, but instead was on handing down and passing on?”
Instead of tax code changes that could be here one year and gone the next, I myself would prefer structural and societal changes in the way we support parents.
In an impressive, old-school takedown that doesn’t use the words “mansplaining” or “privilege,” New Republic writer Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig explains why NYT columnist David Brooks — who I think of as white bread with glasses — is mistaken about poverty.
Brooks’ underlying assumption is wrong: The baseline moral values of poor people do not, in fact, differ that much from those of the rich. Poor people feel ashamed of the incarceration of relatives. The poor, too, want to get married at roughly the same rates as the rich, though the rich have an easier time pulling it off. Matrimonial aspirations, then, are decaying no faster among the poor than the well-off; it’s only the ability to maintain a marriage under the stressors of poverty that seems to put poor families on unsteady ground. Lastly, lest anyone suspect the welfare-queen narrative about poor people eschewing hard work and responsibility holds true, Stephen Pimpare observes in his book A People’s History of Poverty in America that the stigma and shame of poverty and welfare are alive and well …
It is so, so easy, criminally easy, to assume people are poor because they’ve done something wrong and so deserve it. “They” make bad choices, “they” have bad values, “they” buy too many lattes or drugs or fancy sneakers or whatever. It is comforting to think this way because it allows the people making these judgments to enjoy the often fleeting illusion of feeling a) superior, and b) safe.
We don’t dump bodies in unmarked paupers’ graves anymore, right?
Julissa Arce, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, fought — and occasionally bluffed — her way up through the ranks at Goldman Sachs.
For a while now, wealthy and top-tier colleges have been in the news for trying to attract low-income students and also for failing to attract — and retain — that same population.
Just under 15 percent of the undergraduates at the country’s 50 wealthiest colleges received Pell Grants in 2008-9, the most recent year for which national data are available. That percentage hasn’t changed much from 2004-5, around the time that elite institutions focused their attention on the issue. And Pell Grant students are still significantly less represented at the wealthiest colleges than they are at public and nonprofit four-year colleges nationwide, where grant recipients accounted for roughly 26 percent of students in 2008-9.
Individual colleges among the wealthiest have made gains in enrolling Pell Grant students, who generally come from families with annual incomes of less than $40,000. But others have lost ground. …
Among the 50 wealthiest colleges, the share of undergraduates receiving Pell Grants in 2008-9 ranges from 5.7 percent at Washington University in St. Louis to 30.7 percent at UCLA.
These well-off colleges educate a small slice of the country’s undergraduates. Still, the choices they make can set the tone for admissions and financial-aid policies across the country.
Since 2008-09, of course, schools have continued to make adjustments. Did they help? Well, in 2012, the Times reported that “affluent students have an advantage and the gap is widening.” So, no.