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Mind the Gap: U.S. Wage Disparity Worst Among 30 Nations

Photo Credit: Old Shoe Woman

Those “freedom fries” look pretty French right now

Looks like the dictum, "Work hard and get ahead," is another myth gone bust, along with the other pretty bubbles that make up the American Dream.

A new three-year study deflates the notion of social mobility in the United States. Because the gap between the wealthiest and poorest is larger in the United States than in 30 other developed nations, our ability to improve our economic status is less than that of the United Kingdom. Stated another way: If you’re born in this nation, you have less chance of upward mobility than in England, our stereotyped epitome of the immobile, class-based society. 

The study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of its member nations found that in the United States the richest 10 percent earn an average of $93,000—the highest level in the OECD. The poorest 10 percent earn an average of $5,800—about 20 percent lower than the OECD average.

As Eli pointed out this week, the (typically) illusory notion held by millions in this nation that they will rise well above their current income bracket often results in Americans voting for their aspirations and against their economic interests. The new OECD study is a must for helping us bust this myth, as are recent analyses that demonstrate the many reasons why the U.S. economy fares better under Democrats than Republicans.

The OECD report couldn’t be more blunt in slicing through the myth of U.S. social mobility. In short:

The United States has the highest inequality and poverty in the OECD after Mexico and Turkey, and the gap has increased rapidly since 2000, the report said. France, meanwhile, has seen inequalities fall in the past 20 years as poorer workers are better paid.

"The gap has increased rapidly since 2000."

After eight years of George W., seems like the French are having the last laugh.

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Tula Connell

Tula Connell