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Deseret News Opinon Article


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They appear to be doing a Point and Counterpoint series.

"Editor's note: This commentary from scholar Taylor G. Petrey is part of an ongoing Deseret News opinion series exploring ideas and issues at the intersection of faith and thought. Conservative commentator Connor Boyack has responded to this piece here."

 

Good call on their part, imo.

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"While it often strung together some short-term victories against the Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage, these victories were futile in the long run. The legal and cultural changes came about anyway."

I disagree that success of taking moral stands on political issues is only measured by having the law and the greater culture agree with you.

"Mormon conservatism enabled plutocrats whose policies contributed to the massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the top 1 percent and reduced economic mobility."

And yet Utah is top iirc in upward economic and social mobility in the US.

Edited by Calm
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4 hours ago, Calm said:

And yet Utah is top iirc in upward economic and social mobility in the US.

but you are ignoring many important factors.

1. In other states with higher minority populations (like South Carolina for example) people get stuck in poverty. Read 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_of_poverty 

2. Utah is not as diverse 

3. the Mormon community has never had a high wealthy gap problem. Utah was and still (mostly) is a Mormon community. The pioneers worked together.  It has more to do with religion than politics. Other religions (Catholics, Evangelicals) don't do a good job. 

Anyways, Like you tell me "You need a control variable" and correlation is not causation. 

3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Thanks for adding more info, I wasn't able to post as much, needed to get something going for dinner when I looked at the time!

Conservatism and libertarianism work great for the economy of Utah, but it can't work in other states with different problems. 

Convervatism and libertarianism are not good for people living in poverty. 

Edited by MormonVideoGame
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14 hours ago, Calm said:

"While it often strung together some short-term victories against the Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage, these victories were futile in the long run. The legal and cultural changes came about anyway."

I disagree that success of taking moral stands on political issues is only measured by having the law and the greater culture agree with you.

"Mormon conservatism enabled plutocrats whose policies contributed to the massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the top 1 percent and reduced economic mobility."

And yet Utah is top iirc in upward economic and social mobility in the US.

Utah is consistently ranked as one of the best places to go for economic opportunities.

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9 hours ago, MormonVideoGame said:

but you are ignoring many important factors.

1. In other states with higher minority populations (like South Carolina for example) people get stuck in poverty. Read 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_of_poverty 

2. Utah is not as diverse 

3. the Mormon community has never had a high wealthy gap problem. Utah was and still (mostly) is a Mormon community. The pioneers worked together.  It has more to do with religion than politics. Other religions (Catholics, Evangelicals) don't do a good job. 

Anyways, Like you tell me "You need a control variable" and correlation is not causation. 

Conservatism and libertarianism work great for the economy of Utah, but it can't work in other states with different problems. 

Convervatism and libertarianism are not good for people living in poverty. 

"Conservatism and libertarianism work great for the economy of Utah, but it can't work in other states with different problems. 

Convervatism and libertarianism are not good for people living in poverty."

To the contrary, I think those are the best systems for poor people.  Minimum wage laws hurt the poor in a big way. For the record I do support a minimum wage standard but I am very cautious about how much it is and expanding it. I absolutely reject the notion that all jobs should pay a "living wage". That mentality has economically devastated the poor.

"the Mormon community has never had a high wealthy gap problem. Utah was and still (mostly) is a Mormon community. The pioneers worked together.  It has more to do with religion than politics. Other religions (Catholics, Evangelicals) don't do a good job.  "

Doesn't this run contrary to the opinion piece? That despite American Mormons embracing conservatism, that the wage gap is still small? Besides, conservatism very much offers upward mobility. Letting people use their own talents and abilities to flourish unleashes human potential in big ways I think.

Edited by Darren10
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19 hours ago, Calm said:

"While it often strung together some short-term victories against the Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage, these victories were futile in the long run. The legal and cultural changes came about anyway."

I disagree that success of taking moral stands on political issues is only measured by having the law and the greater culture agree with you.

"Mormon conservatism enabled plutocrats whose policies contributed to the massive transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the top 1 percent and reduced economic mobility."

And yet Utah is top iirc in upward economic and social mobility in the US.

I think that's definitely a problem with absolutes....but it also bares pointing out that UT's version of a conservative society is really hard to reproduce outside of the state. In part because of how large a role the church plays in welfare programs. It gives a model of compassionate conservatism, but in doing so it's also currently an exception to the general historical flow of things. 

With luv,

BD

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Utah is not an example of how the individual can make a difference (in the sense that is all that is needed in terms of charity), imo.  Utah works so well because we have a community who tries to act as a whole group, as well as promoting individual work.  Our administration has set up numerous programs of welfare and preaches constantly (for which I am grateful), the need to contribute in some way to the financial well being of others.

The government administration has done much the same thing.  One is a church community, one is a national and state community.  We actually have more input into the government community than we do the Church as there is no vote on who are church representatives or programs will be.  Leadership decides who will be the leaders and what will be the programs.  They may seek input (and I believe do), but it is their decision without checks and balances involving the grassroots level (outside of just not participating).

There is of course the major difference that if one refuses to participate in or support the welfare efforts of the Church community, the worst that can happen is excommunication and that would be very, very unlikely for this unless one began preaching the leadership was wrong in their efforts, were being deceived by Satan, and others should withdraw their support as well.  I don't think normally a refusal to pay offerings would even result in no recommend if one didn't make a fuss over why they weren't doing it.  

Otoh, if one withheld paying a portion of one's taxes because they didn't like that money was going to welfare and social programs, one could get in a lot of trouble, even possibly jail time.

-----

I am neither conservative or liberal save in an ideal sense.  At this point I am a pragmatist and vote based on what I see as most workable and least disaster waiting to happen.  I don't see either party as embracing the claimed ideal on more than a superficial level.  I don't see much sacrificing for the greater good or for helping the poor by the power people in the Dems,  I see massive government spending for their own pet programs by the Rep.  I see each group pretty much "in name only" actors.

So that is the bias I approach this with...

------

The below speaks of American LDS only.  Mormon history in other countries have different histories with government and political parties and therefore will have different community cultural views...

I get why the conservative ideals are very appealing to LDS.  One has to involve the government in order to achieve prudent, frugal government spending, etc., but the ideals of liberals can theoretically be achieved without government involvement, through the charity of private works.  (That this has never happened on a sufficiently large enough scale to help those who need it save perhaps in small communities is why I believe there should be some government involvement.)  LDS started out being persecuted by multiple governments and there was little protection or help offered by government for at least the first 50 years of its existence, so a distrust of government involvement being embedded into the community culture is hardly surprising.  I doubt it will disappear anytime soon.  The two party system plus the tying of certain policies to each platform makes it appear, imo, that there is more homogeneity in political thought then there really is these days, though it is possible that 'voting as a bloc', the reason the governments feared Mormons early on, is another characteristic that has embedded itself into our culture.  We (speaking in general) want to see unity in our community and so that gives added weight for the opinions of others to influence us.  

----

Petrey's article assumes, imo, that Mormon conservatism equates, promotes, or somehow enables the corruptions present in the Republican version of conservatism based on, if I understand him correctly, the voting patterns of Mormons in general.  But given there are realistically only two choices to be had and both parties are so corrupt and far from their idealistic standards, I see that as blaming Mormons for what is a national problem.  Mormons weren't the ones that placed Trump on the ballot.  We (as a group) fought quite vigorously against him.  While there are some influential LDS, they are not the ones making party policy.

When the option of rejecting the Republican Party is a party as corrupt and bumbling and self centered as the Republican one, I am not surprised that the choice is status quo.  I think Mormons in general believe that if Mormons as a group switched to supporting the Democratic Party, they would have little influence as they wouldn't be seen as significant or necessary players so why bother, especially given the disdain that has been expressed by many celebrity Democrats...I think Mormons are used to the distrust that comes from a certain segment of the Evangelical community and that is easier to ignore as simply differences of religion (something LDS understand) as opposed to those who dislike us based on nonreligious reasons, which makes that disdain more shocking and offputting and divisive.  

I would be interested to poll members on if they believe they have any actual impact on Republican policies/platform.  I certainly don't see it as I think as a 'bloc' we are ignored as there is an assumption we will fall in line, but I know a few who are heavily involved in politics and they certainly seem to think that way given the effort they expend and the way they talk.

This is not to say there aren't influential LDS in government, I just don't think they are influential in the government because they 'promise' the LDS vote, so to speak.  But I do think in general there is a sense that we as a group are taken for granted, that our loyalty is assumed, so there is no need to court us.

And I think as long as party politics continue to frame politics as either/or, I suspect they are right.  Until we are seen as being willing to make a jump to Democrats and maybe even then, we won't be calculated into any high level decisions.  Utah and the few Mormon dense states just don't have political clout from what I see.  This may be in part due to the refusal of the Church to get involved in political issues except on rare occasions.  We may be powerful when motivated to act as a group, but church leaders refrain from doing so in most cases.

"Two such issues have been the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) battle, in which some scholars say the church played a crucial role in killing the amendment, and more recently, gay marriage, which the church has mounted a major campaign to stop. Latter-day Saints received direction from Mormon leaders in fighting the passage of gay marriage legislation in California....

Political scientists David Campbell of Notre Dame and J. Quin Monson of Brigham Young University have profiled (PDF file) the voting behavior of Mormons and describe them as "dry kindling. … Like kindling they can be lit, ignited by the spark of explicit direction from their church leaders. However, much of the flammability is due to the relative infrequency with which Mormons are mobilized by their church leaders.""

http://www.pbs.org/mormons/faqs/politics.html

 

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

.............................but it also bares pointing out that UT's version of a conservative society is really hard to reproduce outside of the state. In part because of how large a role the church plays in welfare programs. It gives a model of compassionate conservatism, but in doing so it's also currently an exception to the general historical flow of things. 

........................................

Not only is Utah unique in that respect, but the very phrase "compassionate conservatism" is an oxymoron, which is why it has been used so forcefully by past Republicans (such as George Bush Jr) to shame fellow Republicans into concern for the general welfare.

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8 hours ago, Darren10 said:

"Conservatism and libertarianism work great for the economy of Utah, but it can't work in other states with different problems. 

Convervatism and libertarianism are not good for people living in poverty."

To the contrary, I think those are the best systems for poor people.  Minimum wage laws hurt the poor in a big way. For the record I do support a minimum wage standard but I am very cautious about how much it is and expanding it. I absolutely reject the notion that all jobs should pay a "living wage". That mentality has economically devastated the poor.

Do you have an example of that ever working? Say in a large area, city, state, or country that had a big wage gap problem with poverty (millions powerless and desperate). 

Just because it can work in theory doesn't mean it works in reality. You can't ignore human psychology. 

Edited by MormonVideoGame
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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Utah is not an example of how the individual can make a difference (in the sense that is all that is needed in terms of charity), imo.  Utah works so well because we have a community who tries to act as a whole group, as well as promoting individual work.  Our administration has set up numerous programs of welfare and preaches constantly (for which I am grateful), the need to contribute in some way to the financial well being of others.

However, "Utah more skeptical of global warming than most other states" 

http://fox13now.com/2017/03/24/utah-more-skeptical-of-global-warming-than-most-other-states/

3 hours ago, BlueDreams said:

I think that's definitely a problem with absolutes....but it also bares pointing out that UT's version of a conservative society is really hard to reproduce outside of the state. In part because of how large a role the church plays in welfare programs. It gives a model of compassionate conservatism, but in doing so it's also currently an exception to the general historical flow of things. 

Many in Utah are skeptical of climate change, and don't believe there is an overwhelming scientific consensus. 

There is no scientific organization in the entire world that denies it, at least no scientific organization created before the 1990s.  

Many Utahns did fall for the politics and propaganda. Climate Change denial is a reason why Utah loses credibility in my opinion.   

Edited by MormonVideoGame
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1 hour ago, MormonVideoGame said:

Do you have an example of that ever working? Say in a large area, city, state, or country that had a big wage gap problem with poverty (millions powerless and desperate). 

Just because it can work in theory doesn't mean it works in reality. You can't ignore human psychology. 

There will always be a pay gap. Command economies do not work: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/top-10-reasons-detroit-went-bankrupt/article/2533299

Minumum wage law hurts poor: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=milton+friedman+minimum+wage&view=detail&mid=57236F0C0875D9DE805E57236F0C0875D9DE805E&FORM=VIRE; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-26/where-a-higher-minimum-wage-hurts-the-poor

Let the markets work and people thrive:

Quote

Prior to the welfare state policies like the minimum wages, black Americans improved their living standards through enormous productive gains—an impressive feat, given the lawless injustice of the Jim Crow laws. Unfortunately. These well-intentioned policies have widened the racial gap.

The turn of the 20th century was marked with reduced foreign labor from immigration restrictions and increased demand for Americans goods. The North’s industrial economy boomed and attracted blacks away from the South’s agricultural industry, largely due to recruitment efforts by Northern industrialists. This lead to the population of blacks living outside the South tripling from 1910 to 1950.

Blacks migrating north assimilated into the workforce by accepting lower wages in return for work experience. This pay-gap was not ideal, but it allowed the average black migrant to experience a 30 percent increase in annual earnings by moving north.

Before the [federal minimum wage], the black-white unemployment gap was insignificant, never permanently exceeding 1 percent.

Ultimately, blacks achieved huge gains in wages, education, and political expression, despite the injustices of the time. The black labor force developed considerably and, by 1940, the black-white wage gap had sharply declined.

https://panampost.com/editor/2016/03/28/history-minimum-wage-harmed-blacks/

NOTE: I am not a supporter of Laissez faire as that left unchecked naturally leads to slavery but government guaranteeing equality needs to be extraordinarily cautious about interfering in individual and private lives. 

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On May 9, 2017 at 7:14 PM, Calm said:

"While it often strung together some short-term victories against the Equal Rights Amendment and same-sex marriage, these victories were futile in the long run. The legal and cultural changes came about anyway."

So true, but equally true is that God does not judge "any" based on the outcome of any war, but only in our actions in the battle for what we believe to be right. Be it in our personal lives or public lives, we are only commanded to choose the right, command, course, actions, etc, the rest off it is ours to insure, or would that be "ensure". 

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3 hours ago, Calm said:

MVG, your comment has nothing to do with mine, imo, so this will be my only response.

You said, "Utah works so well"

My response basically was "I disagree". It can't work so well when so many deny an important scientific fact. 

3 hours ago, Darren10 said:

There will always be a pay gap. 

Let me repeat, "Say in a large area, city, state, or country that had a big wage gap problem" For example, when the top 0.1% have almost as much wealth as bottom 90%. That is not a good thing

3 hours ago, Darren10 said:

Let the markets work and people thrive:. 

You are avoiding my question and doing politics. Most studies agree that increasing the min wage doesn't affect employment. There it no evidence.   

Edited by MormonVideoGame
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3 hours ago, Darren10 said:

There will always be a pay gap. Command economies do not work: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/top-10-reasons-detroit-went-bankrupt/article/2533299

Yes, but how big of a pay gap? Should a CEO make ten times what their workers make? A hundred times? A thousand times? Too large a gap in wage equality seems to inevitably lead to revolution, economic collapse, or corrupt states

3 hours ago, Darren10 said:

Questionable.

3 hours ago, Darren10 said:

Let the markets work and people thrive:

In a perfect market. Many forget that Econ 101 is a starting point for an understanding of economics and does not represent the facts on the ground.

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13 hours ago, Darren10 said:

"Conservatism and libertarianism work great for the economy of Utah, but it can't work in other states with different problems. 

Convervatism and libertarianism are not good for people living in poverty."

To the contrary, I think those are the best systems for poor people.  Minimum wage laws hurt the poor in a big way. For the record I do support a minimum wage standard but I am very cautious about how much it is and expanding it. I absolutely reject the notion that all jobs should pay a "living wage". That mentality has economically devastated the poor.

"the Mormon community has never had a high wealthy gap problem. Utah was and still (mostly) is a Mormon community. The pioneers worked together.  It has more to do with religion than politics. Other religions (Catholics, Evangelicals) don't do a good job.  "

Doesn't this run contrary to the opinion piece? That despite American Mormons embracing conservatism, that the wage gap is still small? Besides, conservatism very much offers upward mobility. Letting people use their own talents and abilities to flourish unleashes human potential in big ways I think.

Until we treat all jobs as deserving of respect and embracing the concept that anyone laboring a full week deserves enough to have decent food and a decent roof we will not solve poverty. The poor are more devastated trying to work two jobs to make ends meet then they are by there being a few fewer jobs. In many communities lower-wage positions seem to always be hiring. I would posit that the reason those jobs are not filled is that we accept that they are degrading positions fit only for teenagers and the useless for anything else. Any surprise no one wants those jobs? Given the choice between a lifetime of work at McDonalds and working for organized crime the rational choice is the latter. The latter is more respectable and pays better.

Mormons embrace conservatism. The reason they do not see the need for the social programs that modern liberalism endorses is that we have them. When one of us is in trouble and trying to get out legions flock to our aid. We get help finding jobs, job training, are given food and support, and live in an environment that often crosses socioeconomic lines so the rich and the poor grow up together and see opportunity. My friends whose parents were barely scraping by had dozens of ready role models on how to succeed who are EAGER to help. Now picture a minority kid whose dad is a loser and whose mother is a drunk. He wants to improve his life but does not really know how. Some teachers might try to help but they can only do so much. They have no role models. They do not see and know examples of a better life so they have no one to emulate. If the family runs into trouble who is going to help? They probably do not have much in the way of friends. Extended family are probably shunning them or, perhaps worse, equally dysfunctional. The need for solid help makes more sense when you see what Mormons and others with well-developed social and faith networks often have that others do not.

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

That leaves out the reason that minimum wage harmed blacks. Unable to employ as many people when there is a minimum wage white people get employed first. Is that a problem with minimum wage or a problem with racist employers?

Perhaps racism but much more so in rhe early 20th century than it is now. 

Regadless of time, whenever an employer is forced to pay a minimum amount then it is the poor who get hurt the most. They are typically the most unskilled labor force in the market and therefore offer the least value to a company. In our country the urban poor are largly black. 

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6 hours ago, MormonVideoGame said:

Many in Utah are skeptical of climate change, and don't believe there is an overwhelming scientific consensus. 

There is no scientific organization in the entire world that denies it, at least no scientific organization created before the 1990s.  

Many Utahns did fall for the politics and propaganda. Climate Change denial is a reason why Utah loses credibility in my opinion.   

I don't know why LDS should have a problem with climate change.  If what they claim is correct about climate change where it will lead to more flooding, droughts, wars, ect then it fits perfectly with a last days views of wars, natural disasters, ect.  Perhaps of not accepting it, we should accept it not only as a fact but a sign that we are moving further along towards the end.  I am rather excited about it. 

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Until we treat all jobs as deserving of respect and embracing the concept that anyone laboring a full week deserves enough to have decent food and a decent roof we will not solve poverty. The poor are more devastated trying to work two jobs to make ends meet then they are by there being a few fewer jobs. In many communities lower-wage positions seem to always be hiring. I would posit that the reason those jobs are not filled is that we accept that they are degrading positions fit only for teenagers and the useless for anything else. Any surprise no one wants those jobs? Given the choice between a lifetime of work at McDonalds and working for organized crime the rational choice is the latter. The latter is more respectable and pays better.

Mormons embrace conservatism. The reason they do not see the need for the social programs that modern liberalism endorses is that we have them. When one of us is in trouble and trying to get out legions flock to our aid. We get help finding jobs, job training, are given food and support, and live in an environment that often crosses socioeconomic lines so the rich and the poor grow up together and see the opportunity. My friends whose parents were barely scraping by had dozens of ready role models on how to succeed who are EAGER to help. Now picture a minority kid whose dad is a loser and whose mother is a drunk. He wants to improve his life but does not really know how. Some teachers might try to help but they can only do so much. They have no role models. They do not see and know examples of a better life so they have no one to emulate. If the family runs into trouble who is going to help? They probably do not have much in the way of friends. Extended family are probably shunning them or, perhaps worse, equally dysfunctional. The need for solid help makes more sense when you see what Mormons and others with well-developed social and faith networks often have that others do not.

"I would posit that the reason those jobs are not filled is that we accept that they are degrading positions fit only for teenagers and the useless for anything else." 

Pushing buttons on a cash register is not a high skilled job and I say that as one who worked for years at Wendy's during his high school years. (Even then you'd be surprised how many couldn't even do that, especially when it came to counting money). I loved that job but that was a starting point. Of course every job deserves respect. I do nit care iff one is a CEO or a jsnitor, a hard worker is a hard worker. Pay is based on demand. Sports players could make millions whereas a Marine a puny amount. A sports player who makes it big typically has skills few others possess and a skill others are silling to pay to be entertained by. Many positions in thr military are doable right out of high school. We may honor their sacrifice more but when it cones to pay it's by demand, not guaranteed amounts. Pay by demand is sustainable, guaranteed outcomes are not. Detroit went the way of guaranteed outcomes by ensuring everyone had a decent lay and benefits. Now it's bankrupt and Chicago, the which area I grew up, is well on its way to bankruptcy and tsking Illinois with it. Cinky towns here in Texas do far better finacially than Chicago. States with the most economic growth are by and large ones which avoid command controlled economies. Period. 

"The reason they do not see the need for the social programs that modern liberalism endorses is that we have them." 

Agreed. And that is by choice. When forced things go poorly. The United Order was forced and it collapsed. Mormonism continued to embrace the principles behind it and doing so by personal choice has thus far been quite sustainable and a blessing for all. And the Church Employment Center is absolutely top notch. It's available for all for free, what are you doing to promote it. I promise you the state won't. 

No need to lecture me on the streets, I see its effects everyday. I havecstudents returning to school from juvie from gpsrug desling to armed robbery. I believe you're in a similar situation with what you do and God bless you for it. 

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Yes, but how big of a pay gap? Should a CEO make ten times what their workers make? A hundred times? A thousand times? Too large a gap in wage equality seems to inevitably lead to revolution, economic collapse, or corrupt states

Questionable.

In a perfect market. Many forget that Econ 101 is a starting point for an understanding of economics and does not represent the facts on the ground.

Question, if you were to take Tillerson's former position as CEO of Exxon, how would you run it and how well do you think you'd do running it? 

"Too large a gap in wage equality seems to inevitably lead to revolution, economic collapse, or corrupt states" 

Question: How well does the middle class do under command economies? The upward mobility of the poor in the US is superb! Indo note that you can find studies showing all sorts of differing results but there is no denying that you and I are far better off than our ancestors were and that goes for all races. 

Edited by Darren10
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