We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Since 1998, the U.S. population has increased by over 20 million. Nearly half of that growth has come from immigration, legal and illegal. Overwhelmingly, these immigrants enter at the lowest rungs on the income ladder. Statistically, this immigrant surge not only reduces the income of the "average" household, but also changes the occupants of the lowest income classes.
To understand what's happening here, envision a line of people queued up for March Madness tickets. Individuals move up the line as tickets are purchased. But new people keep coming. So the line never gets shorter, even though individuals are advancing.
I think that is true. We are an economically mobile nation, with no permanent underclass. People here rise and fall economically depending on their age, life choices, desires, capacities, and luck.
Related: The poor in Europe do the same as in the US - but they lack the American outlets for any ambition they might have because their governments sit on their heads. If you define poverty as the lowest 10% in income, American poor do just fine. Worstall. And, of course, if you define it as the lowest 10% in income, you will always have them, even if they have two cars and wide-screen TVs (and do not include govt assistance as income).
''People here rise and fall economically depending on their life choices, desires, capacities, and luck''
...and AGE! Young folks just starting out are poor as Job's Turkey -- and naturally they skew the stats. The Dems, in their never-ending crusade to gin up problems that only socialst statism can solve, always avoid discussion of this vital fact.
We do have a small permanent underclass, 2-4% of the population depending on how long your definition of "permanent" is. About half of that are portions of the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled populations (even mental disability is not a guarantee of poverty, however).
Point taken in general, however.
Assistant Village Idiot
...and substance-abuse, AVI -- tho perhaps it's inside the categories you mentioned, tho.
Anyhoo, here's an excellent WSJ essay on the pervasive and relentless political demagoguery re income inequality: