Stuck at the bottom

Also complex are the political implications. To be sure, much of America’s widening class divide, and stunted upward mobility, have origins in broader economic forces, as well as technological change. This appears to have advantaged certain areas, and ethnic groups, more than others. The Left accurately criticizes that “trickle down” economics, as practiced now by the Fed and celebrated on Wall Street, clearly does not improve life for most people. If we follow this approach, we could very well end up, as economist Tyler Cowen suggests, with a country where 85 percent of the population struggles while 15 percent enjoys unprecedented high standards of living.

This growing inequality, with its racial connotations, is fundamentally socially unsustainable. Yet how to restart upward mobility remains a difficult proposition. Progressives might shout loudest about inequality, but their economic policies have failed to produce either upward mobility or greater equality.

Indeed, under the current liberal regime, the prospects for the poor and working class have decreased markedly while the wealthy, often villainized by the administration, have luxuriated. During much of the tenure of the first black president, the gap between Anglo incomes on the one side and those of blacks and Hispanics has widened, doubling since the Great Recession.

Indeed, racial economic disparities are mostly unchanged or are growing. The black unemployment rate remains more than double the white jobless rate and reaches 40 percent among black youth.