“I think going forward, we have to deal with our larger structural problems. The biggest one, as far as I’m concerned is we’re no longer socially mobile as a country. You have people that are born poor, there is a higher and higher probability that they’re going to stay poor and people who are born rich, there is a great probability that they’re going to stay rich. It’s so un-American. And yet none of the conversation and the debates are really about this. But upward mobility is a way to solve a lot of the problems because then people don’t default out of fear or exasperation… if they feel like life isn’t fair to them they can’t succeed – it’s only the big interests that can succeed… then they default to something that looks a little more like Europe than historically our republic has been.”
– Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush (this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe)
This page is where we will assemble the best information about what makes rising economic inequality an “asteroid,” and therefore a substantial threat to our future. It will serve as a resource for Asteroid Clubs wishing to present rising inequality as a part of their event.
We’d like you to participate in crowd-sourcing the best data, the most compelling reads, and the smartest videos by posting a comment under the relevant section (with source links). We’ll mine the comments and continue to build the case with your help.
At the bottom of the page you’ll find “The Telescope” for rising inequality. It’s where we’ll seek to view the asteroid in more depth, dimension and accuracy – giving good arguments mitigating the threat of the asteroid their due. Telescopes reveal complexity we’re likely to ignore if we’re freaking out about an incoming asteroid.
Here are the most relevant, believable and sourced facts that argue that rising inequality is, indeed, an incoming asteroid. Please link your fact to its source.
Help us add to our library by using the comment thread to suggest quality reading on rising inequality. Keep in mind that you are looking for sources that people who don’t believe entitlement spending is a future risk might find convincing in moving them toward seeing the asteroid. Be sure to also assess the credibility of your source through the lens of someone less likely to agree with you (to convince a conservative, you might want to avoid citing Mother Jones or MSNBC). Emotional and intuitive arguments can be very effective, but evaluate them critically first – anything that demonizes or belittles those who resist the notion that rising economic inequality has to be addressed will only serve to cement their resistance.
“The telescope” is an exercise that allows a closer look at the asteroid. What questions are skeptics asking? Far from being annoyances, their concerns can serve to help us see the asteroid in more depth, dimension and accuracy. Remember that at the same time that people on your side of the aisle are more likely to see your asteroid, they’re also more likely to be blind to some of the critical details about it (read about morality binding us together and blinding us here). If you’re in the business of deflecting asteroids, an unflinching steely-eyed understanding of the asteroid is critical to getting the job done. In contrast, self-delusion very often ends badly.