Reports from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and others show that social mobility is greater elsewhere, notably in Denmark, Australia, Norway, Finland, Canada, Sweden and Germany.
What do these countries have in common? Not to put too fine a point on it, all have national policies that are, in right-wing parlance, more “socialist” or (to be precise) social democratic than ours. They guarantee their citizens health insurance. They have stronger union movements and more generous welfare states. They tend to keep higher education more affordable. In most cases, especially Germany’s, they have robust apprenticeship and job training programs. They levy higher taxes.
The lesson from this list is not that cutting back government, gutting unions and reducing taxes on the rich will re-create an America of opportunity. On the contrary, we need more active and thoughtful government policies to become again the nation we claim to be