by Scott Winship, Donald Schneider
e21 – Economic Policies for the 21st Century
February 07, 2014
As expected, President Obama’s State of the Union address to the nation was suffused with the theme of opportunity. Over the past two years, the president has consistently tied the opportunities of poor and middle class Americans to rising income inequality. However, gone Tuesday were the assertions that mobility has fallen and that rising inequality has directly affected mobility. New research released prior to the State of the Union strongly undermined the Administration’s already flimsy argument. The collapse of the Great Gatsby Curve—the principal support for the anti-income inequality argument—the weakness of the evidence that inequality and mobility are causally linked, and the accumulation of studies finding little change in mobility over time suggest that the Administration could continue its campaign against income inequality but point to other justifications. Or, Democrats could focus the debate on how to expand upward mobility, a subject that increasingly concerns Republicans.