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Search The Web Search Aol. Jenna Bush Hager hangs with grandfather George H. Bush and sister Barbara in rare family photo. Nick Cardona. View this post on Instagram. George H. Washington, DC. Up Next. Discover More Like This.
Tags barbara bush George H. Bush jenna bush hager. From Our Partners. This all-white panda has been photographed for the very first time. New refi program gives homeowners one more chance. Scroll to continue with content AD. Recommended For You. It directly linked me to William Bradford. Stephen Bennett. It's just exciting to be a part of the continuing story of these courageous early Americans and learning of their adventures. Trudy Thurgood. Going to Plimoth Plantation with my daughters strengthened me. Knowing what they suffered and sacrificed for Freedom increases our committments to do all we can to keep our freedoms!
Where could we go if we lost it here!? Michael Hawkins. Location: Indiana, United States. Proud to have my family be part of this nation's history from the beginning. Well it means an important part of my life. James DeVenney. Location: New Brunswick, Canada. Jesselyn Knight. Being a part of the Mayflower story is about being family. I feel honored to have just been approved a new member of the Mayflower Society. I am glad I can honor my ancestor William Brewster, who had such faith, courage, and determination. Ancestor: Thomas Rogers, George Soule. Thanks to my cousin Christopher at the Mayflower Society for charting our lesser known kin on a route back to New England in It is inspiring and enlightening to realize that I am here today because of people who were willing to pull up stakes and endure hardship because they saw the need for change and were willing to make a lifetime commitment to God, one another, and a new society.
Larry Alexander. It's a great connection to my genealogy research that I can share with my family. Carolyn Schatz. My grandmother was Phoebe Mundell and comes from the line of the Jenney family. Desiree Blackwell was part of the family and I believe 3rd or 4th generation descendant of Richard Warren. I desire to learn more of my ancestors and how they survived. To leave a legacy to my children would be awesome.
Christine Decker. Finding out recently that my maternal Grandmother's line was descended from the first pilgrims on the Mayflower was a major shock! Much of my genealogy is through ME and MA which was so surprising. I have always been a HUGE history lover so genealogy has become a super exciting new hobby for me! Robert Roether. It gives me a sense of connection. I wasn't aware of the Mayflower connection growing up, just that part of my family had been here a long time.
The search was also a fascinating hobby, solving a puzzle. Heritage and Tradition Valued. Joel Hagenburg. I have been researching my family history for many years. I was thrilled when I discovered this historic connection to Gov. William Bradford, my 12th Great-grandfather. Lisa Shoemaker. I was so excited to find myself a Mayflower descendent. I had been giving tours in the Boston area and Plymouth even though I live in the midwest , so I had studied this history and was fascinated with it, then I found out my ancestor was a part of this exciting history.
No wonder I love the Boston and Plymouth area so much! Melanie Boyan. I've lived on Cape Cod my whole life with generations before me and now having proof is amazing. I'm proud to be among the descendants of the many immigrants who have come to this land seeking a new start. I also think it's awesome to be descended from the only passenger who fell OFF the Mayflower. It is interesting to see where my family is now in comparison to their history. Pym Underwood Mumford. I have just found out that we are descended from Elder Brewster on my mother's side.
I am thrilled to know that our ancestor was such a well-respected, upright man. It is interesting that, without knowing the connection, we have spent summers in Brewster, Massachusetts, since the s. I feel so proud of our wonderful heritage. I have enjoyed learning more about my ancestors and distant relatives. It makes history much more relevant and alive! Kimberly Smith. Having a love for history, I feel very connected to the events that shaped our nation due to those of my ancestors who were involved.
As a writer and musician, I feel their influence in my heart, mind, and soul when I am working on a story or song; it is a humbling experience. There isn't a day that I do not feel their influence in my life. Debra Triplett. Ancestor: William Mullins. I am astounded to learn this information and feel more connected to my ancestors and heritage. I have been searching my lineage for years and am honored to have such an important individual in my heritage. Lois Bartlett Swan. I feel honored to be a part of the Mayflower family.
It is incredible what our ancestors were willing to sacrifice for a new start in our wonderful country. It is incredible what they had to endure, not only in the crossing but the struggle to survive once they arrived. They were awesome! It helps me to know where I came from and that I am part of the beginnings of this country. Steven Althoen. Kimberly Gelinas. I love that my personal family history includes those brave individuals who settled this country. I'm from New England and all things New England are of interest to me. I have been doing genealogy since I was about 12 but have never taken any action to tie myself to the Mayflower officially.
Thought it was about time. I've been using PAF for the past few years and have a huge file but I think I can save portions of it if needed. Steve Pattison. Mary Galemenser. I am a member of DAR and would like my children and grandchildren to know they are descendants of the Mayflower. It gives me a sense of where I came from. Incidentally, I have a friend who used to work for me who is descended from Edward Doty, an indentured man to Stephen Hopkins Elizabeth Brown. I'm very proud and happy to be a part of the Mayflower story.
My daughter found this information out and I'm certain she will make sure it is remembered. Stephanie Neely Nibert. Being a part of the Mayflower story is something very exciting and special to me and my father. I will ensure my children and generations to come know the struggle and sacrifice their ancestors endured.
Walter Fiedler. I was very surprised to find that any of my ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower. I just returned home from a visit to Provincetown, MA. If I had known the connection I would have been even more interested in its historical significance. I can only imagine the hardships these people chose to endure, and am inspired by their stories.
Robin Ruth Alexander. I love being part of living history. I am proud of my heritage and working on joining on a second Mayflower ancestor. I enjoy the meetings with other members in our local colony chapter and seeing them year after year. I also enjoy meeting new members and building new friendships. I have gotten some of my relatives in as wedding gifts.
Peggy L. Welter born Ohl. Besides Richard Warren I am linked to many more Mayflower passengers by marriage. Would like to know more. Harold Williams. Jane Barrows Tatibouet.
Understanding and relating to the long line of sturdy, faithful and patriotic folks who unknowingly were creating one of the world's finest countries and way of life, has led me purposefully through my own life's accomplishments, in order that our future generations may know and appreciate these brave Pilgrim Fathers upon whose shoulders we stand.
It is so important to know our history- without knowing what came before us, we cannot appreciate all that we have today. WIth Plymouth coming in it is especially meaningful to me to be part of the Mayflower family. Cynthia Bolivar. I am a member of the D. R and have recently discovered my Mayflower connections.
My late mother always claimed that we were related to the White family but I have discovered connections to the Allertons. Being a "New Englander" I am proud of my heritage and ancestral roots here where I make my home. Christy Allred. Connecting with my ancestors and family. Research for my son's Merit Badge. Doriann Salisbury. Ancestor: Richard Warren, William White.
Roberta Estes. Love being part of living history, including the DNA of my ancestors. My ancestors stories are on my blog. I have known for a while that I was a descendant of Edward Doty, but until my grandsons entered school and became interested did I start serious study about my ancestry. I would like to become a member of the Mayflower Society by , the th anniversary. Michele Sleight. Freedom, liberty, independence, bravery. Location: Helsingborg, Sweden. Shirley Vivion. Being a part of the Mayflower story brings my historic heritage into the present with such pride in my ancestors, it's hard to put into words.
It's sort of mind blowing Eleanor Schatz. Debra Bell Yonkers. It means everything to be affiliated with this powerful part of American history, not the least of which is tremendous pride, humility, respect and appreciation, especially for the hardships endured generations ago. Knowing that my family line is part of early American history is very exciting. One of the descendents in the Stephen Hopkins line is even a signer of the Declaration of Independence! How cool is that?! It would give me great pleasure to finally achieve what I have wanted for so long.
Barbara A Weed. Ancestor: Francis Eaton. I have always been proud of my Mayflower ancestors. My grandmother would tell us of our early New England heritage. We are strong. We are survivors. I am connected to a group of individuals that helped found this nation and who value family and history; those who are not afraid to be a part of something bigger than themselves; preserving our connection to the past for those in the future. Alison Haskins. I'm part of the immigrant story from our country's earliest beginnings.
How strong and determined they were to carve out a new life in the wilderness. That thread continues every day with new immigrants coming here to be safe and free, and who are just as strong and determined. Donna E Gates Smeall. I am thrilled to have found my Mayflower roots as it solidifies my genealogical research for me. Denise Picard Lindgren. It is humbling to learn how my family connects to the men and women who helped to found New England. Kathleen Boston McCune.
My 10th Great Grandfather, William White died several days upon landing, but his son, who is also my 9th Great Grandfather Peregrine White, was born on the 19th of December, while he and his mother, Susanna Fuller White, my 10th Great Grandmother, were still aboard the Mayflower. I am proud to have a heritage of family members so courageous. Jeri and Rhonda Jones. I am in awe of the discovery and proud of my heritage! Diane nee Gault Robinson. Rebecca Smith Munn. Elizabeth Tilley is my 12th G-Grandmother. The fact that she was the only surviving member of her family that came over on the Mayflower and that she married John Howland who almost lost his life on the journey by falling overboard, is amazing to me!
If it weren't for these two, I wouldn't be here today! Marsha Joyce Adams. I was so proud to discover I am a Mayflower descendent! Growing up in Massachusetts, history is on every corner and I am thrilled that my ancestors were here in the very beginning! Location: Maryland, United States. Having ancestors with such courage and stamina. Andrea Kleiner. My grandmother, Caroline told us we were related to Stephen Hopkins but back then it was hard to prove.
Now with all the information available I believe I have proven it to be true. We are all a part of history. I'm enjoying learning so much more because this history involves my relatives, past and present. I'm also William Brewster family. I'm proud to find that so many of my ancestors were so great a part of the history of the United States.
It means that my ancestors were brave in their pursuit for freedom of their beliefs. Florence Hemming. Susan MacDonald Dill. That my ancestors were among the first European settlers in North America and descendants are still flourishing here would mean something to me about knowing my family history.
It would not make me better than anyone else but add a sense of rootedness in history. Melanie Daniels. Family Tree on Ancestry. This was a recent discovery for me, but the breadth and depth of my early American ancestry as a whole has made me much more appreciative of what our ancestors built on these shores and the importance of the liberty established on these shores to all of humanity.
Colleen Eldredge. Having a great idea of where the one line of he family began. So fascinating for me to study. Ancestor: Francis Eaton, George Soule. It means that myself and my children would have an important heritage that can be passed on to my grandchildren. Carolyn Hugley. Michael Rowley. This was an unexpected but beautiful find. Genealogy is really like a series of constant gifts. Being a descendant of the brave pilgrims who gave so much to come to this wilderness in and fought so hard to live in a land of freedom and liberty is at the very heart of who I am and all I believe.
Theirs is a story worth being told over and over. Kathleen Kingman. Our Mayflower family link meant a lot to my Uncle, Keith Kingman, who introduced me to a great group of people through Soule Kindred in America. This pic was taken when I had the pleasure of meeting Soules from all over the country at the reunion in Plymouth. The reunion in is sure to be a splendid time for all! My aunt has traced our family tree and this would bring confirmation. I've been researching my genealogy for years. After learning I had ancestors on the Mayflower, I was surprised and elated.
I think it is very exciting! Lauren Fitzharris. Allison Fitzharrs. Francis Gosling. Until a few years ago, I didn't know about this part of our family. Now we're up to 7 direct descendants and one who didn't come on the Mayflower actually was part of the team that created the compact Robert Cushman! I've recently been to Plymouth and look forward to returning!
Just to know my ancestors have been in this country for hundreds of years. Also to trace my ancestry back as far as I can. I'm a very patriotic person and believe in how our founding fathers fought for this country.
Finding out that I descend from those who influenced this country so highly explains so much about me! I'm proud to descend from three Mayflower Passengers! I am an avid family historian and the Mayflower landing is a fascinating part of my ancestry. As a history lover, discovering that my ancestors were an integral part of what would become the United States of America is fascinating.
For me, it's a cool connection- a more personal connection - to our nation's history. Even if part of my family has been here for almost years, others are immigrants from the s. We almost all are immigrants. I wish everyone would remember that and have compassion for our current immigrants.
Ancestor: John Alden, Stephen Hopkins. I am very proud of my Mayflower Heritage. Donald Meredith. Learning more about my ancestors. JoAnn O'Linger-Luscusk. I'm honored to be descended from such brave people, and happy that I was able to honor them by proving my lineage and joining the Mayflower society. Stephen Hopkins is my 11th great grand father, and the history he has created is fabulous to me. We visited the pilgrim village and was totally taken in by how they lived back then.
I am proud to be a descendent of his. Davin ''Daffy'' Bobbel-Chase. Jon Billington came over here so that we could be free. I am free and you are free, thank you to Jon and Frances Billington, pilgrims who cared. Being part of the Mayflower story is a definite bond to the history of our country and the courageous people who sacrificed all to follow their beliefs.
Marlyne Natali. That I am about as American as anyone can get and have a great heritage. I'm a little piece of American History. Stephanie Patterson. My Grandmother was a Mayflower Society Member. This history is important to our family. Fascination with family history. Shows the pride and dedication my family has to the country we helped form. I feel very honored and humbled to be a descendant of John Howland and the Tilleys that came over on the Mayflower.
Amy Beth McGee Andrzejek. I am proud that they were co-creators of the Mayflower Compact and inspired by their courage. Jennifer Davis. William R Johnson. Location: Wyoming, United States. Being part of the Mayflower story gives meaning to my deep seated patriotism and love for the American story. Patricia Anne Rogers. Ancestor: John Billington, Francis Eaton. I have always felt an amazing connection to History, to the old days gone by.
I believe our Ancestors are still with us, teaching us It has been an amazing journey to know I carry the legacy on. It is just wonderful to know my family was part of the beginnings of our great country. Very proud. Location: Arkansas, United States. Great to be able to link myself to the history and courage of those who came before me. Very exciting to be a part of the historic voyage and settlement. It is an honor to be connected to history. I love history and am proud of my heritage. Lynne Davidson.
Jennifer Alden. The end of this line for Alden namesake. Location: Alabama, United States. It makes me think about how I need to live up to the strength and integrity of my ancestors. It makes me want to be a better person. Plus I think it is so incredible that I am a descendent that it is hard to believe. It helps to give me a sense of history of the United States to be able to trace relatives all the way back to the Mayflower.
Sharon Pontious. Being Mayflower Descendant means that my family played a major part in making the United States of America the great country it is today. Stephen Folden. Paulette Gehrke. My grandmother has documentation. I would like to continue the documentation for my children.
Brenda Doty Reiter. Christiane Fuller Woerner. One of side of my Fuller family is from the Mayflower; the other is refugees from Mexico over years ago. I am a true American on both sides of my Fuller family and I love that. Being born and raised in Massachusetts, it was very exciting to find out that I am a Mayflower descendant so many times.
Carol Everson Foster. I feel connected to a historical event. Catherine Spainhour. Linda Baumgartner. I love history, especially family history. When i started my travels, i had no idea where i might land. Catharine Dollase. William Peters. My deep roots. Bev is descendent from William Bradford. We were back wall neighbors in high school. The Williams were friends in Scrooby, England. Bev is a member of the Mayflower Society, I am trying to get there. We are both working on the agenda in San Diego. Bridgitte Baker Pascale. I am proud to be a Brewster descendant, I have been researching my Brewster family for over a decade.
This family stood for freedom of choice in religion and never gave up on what they believed in, I have that same determination, spirit and sense of community. In my local Mayflower descendants group I am the editor and photographer of our paper. My history.
Amy Blankenship. Barbara Giffin. It is an inherited honor to know that I descend from 14 passengers that didn't give up when times were tough. I have little to complain about compared to their struggles to just survive in the new world. So blessed to know my heritage which I had no part in the course that they endured. I know I can persevere in trying times just as they did. Being a part of the Billington Clan and the Mayflower Society is being connected to family and to a historic moment in time.
Mary Jo Blanchard Donahoe. I am proud to be a Billington descendant.
As a member of the Mayflower Society I did nothing but research the lineage. I did not travel to a new world, I did not survive wintry hardships but I am grateful for those who did as I would not be who I am today if it weren't for those who lived before me. Thank you John and Elinor, and Frances too. Cynthia Crouch. Julie Ann Shahin. I celebrate the Pilgrim spirit and sense of adventure. Having ancestors there and involved with the founding of the United States. Jennifer Pasour.
Gina Poremba Peterson. I never thought I was going to find this when I began my research. It brings a whole new perspective to history. I'm proud of my ancestors' faith and bravery to leave their home and come to the new world. I visited Plymouth 3 years ago after learning of my connection. Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Fascinating to have ancestors prominent in American history.
Jennifer Franklin. Connects me to my mother's family. Brenda Chapman LaTorre. This is my family and my family's journey to the new world. I'm so very proud to be an ancestor of Richard Warren and to have my DNA genetic community be the first settlers of colonial New England. That is something I can pass onto my son and grandson. Michael Denney. I am amazed at what that group of people endured for their faith. Ellen Bonner. It doesn't mean a whole lot quite honestly, although I do like being descended from Stephen Hopkins.
He wasn't a religious fanatic and has an interesting personal history. With such deep roots in Massachusetts it's inevitable that I have several ancestors. My mother's family didn't leave the Cape until around Wish I had known of my family history many years ago. In fact, the frenzy of assortative mating today results from a truth that would have been generally acknowledged by the heroines of any Jane Austen novel: Rising inequality decreases the number of suitably wealthy mates even as it increases the reward for finding one and the penalty for failing to do so.
According to one study, the last time marriage partners sorted themselves by educational status as much as they do now was in the s. For most of us, the process is happily invisible. But sometimes—Grandmother understood this well—extra measures are called for. Ivy Leaguers looking to mate with their equals can apply to join a dating service called the League.
It is misleading to think that assortative mating is symmetrical, as in city mouse marries city mouse and country mouse marries country mouse. A better summary of the data would be: Rich mouse finds love, and poor mouse gets screwed. It turns out—who knew? According to the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, 60 years ago just 20 percent of children born to parents with a high-school education or less lived in a single-parent household; now that figure is nearly 70 percent.
Among college-educated households, by contrast, the single-parent rate remains less than 10 percent. Since the s, the divorce rate has declined significantly among college-educated couples, while it has risen dramatically among couples with only a high-school education—even as marriage itself has become less common. The rate of single parenting is in turn the single most significant predictor of social immobility across counties, according to a study led by the Stanford economist Raj Chetty. None of which is to suggest that individuals are wrong to seek a suitable partner and make a beautiful family.
People should—and presumably always will—pursue happiness in this way. We may have studied Shakespeare on the way to law school, but we have little sense for the tragic possibilities of life. The fact of the matter is that we have silently and collectively opted for inequality, and this is what inequality does. It turns marriage into a luxury good, and a stable family life into a privilege that the moneyed elite can pass along to their children. This divergence of families by class is just one part of a process that is creating two distinct forms of life in our society.
In 19th-century England, the rich really were different. We are reproducing the same kind of division via a different set of dimensions. Among low-educated, middle-aged whites, the death rate in the United States—alone in the developed world—increased in the first decade and a half of the 21st century. The sociological data are not remotely ambiguous on any aspect of this growing divide. We also have more friends—the kind of friends who will introduce us to new clients or line up great internships for our kids. These special forms of wealth offer the further advantages that they are both harder to emulate and safer to brag about than high income alone.
We prefer to signal our status by talking about our organically nourished bodies, the awe-inspiring feats of our offspring, and the ecological correctness of our neighborhoods. We have figured out how to launder our money through higher virtues. Most important of all, we have learned how to pass all of these advantages down to our children. In America today, the single best predictor of whether an individual will get married, stay married, pursue advanced education, live in a good neighborhood, have an extensive social network, and experience good health is the performance of his or her parents on those same metrics.
We tend to overlook the fact that parenting is more expensive and motherhood more hazardous in the United States than in any other developed country, that campaigns against family planning and reproductive rights are an assault on the families of the bottom 90 percent, and that law-and-order politics serves to keep even more of them down. New forms of life necessarily give rise to new and distinct forms of consciousness.
In short, Nanny is to have every attribute one would want in a terrific, professional, college-educated parent. Except, of course, the part about being an actual professional, college-educated parent. There is no chance that Nanny will trade places with our busy 5G couple.
The ad is written in flawless, 21st-century business-speak, but what it is really seeking is a governess—that exquisitely contradictory figure in Victorian literature who is both indistinguishable in all outward respects from the upper class and yet emphatically not a member of it. The Gatsby Curve has managed to reproduce itself in social, physiological, and cultural capital. Put more accurately: There is only one curve, but it operates through a multiplicity of forms of wealth.
Rising inequality does not follow from a hidden law of economics, as the otherwise insightful Thomas Piketty suggested when he claimed that the historical rate of return on capital exceeds the historical rate of growth in the economy. Inequality necessarily entrenches itself through other, nonfinancial, intrinsically invidious forms of wealth and power.
We use these other forms of capital to project our advantages into life itself. We look down from our higher virtues in the same way the English upper class looked down from its taller bodies, as if the distinction between superior and inferior were an artifact of nature. My year-old daughter is sitting on a couch, talking with a stranger about her dreams for the future. Determined to get something out of this trial counseling session, I push for recommendations on summer activities.
If you happen to ride through the yellow-brown valleys of the California coast, past the designer homes that sprout wherever tech unicorns sprinkle their golden stock offerings, you might come across him. His high-school classmates still remember him, almost four decades later, as one of the child wonders of the age. Back then, he and his equally precocious siblings showed off their preternatural verbal and musical talents on a local television program.
Now his clients fly him around the state for test-prep sessions with their year-olds. There is a weekday discount. Some of his clients book him every week for a year. Then I remind myself that Grandfather lasted only one year at Yale. Today, you have to self-combust in a newsworthy way before they show you the door.
Inevitably, I begin rehearsing the speech for my daughter. We love you for who you are. And why would you want to be an investment banker or a corporate lawyer anyway? But I refrain from giving the speech, knowing full well that it will light up her parental-bullshit detector like a pair of khakis on fire. In , 54 percent of students at the most selective colleges came from families in the bottom three quartiles of the income distribution. A similar review of the class of put that figure at just 33 percent.
According to a study, 38 elite colleges—among them five of the Ivies— had more students from the top 1 percent than from the bottom 60 percent. The wealthy can also draw on a variety of affirmative-action programs designed just for them. As Daniel Golden points out in The Price of Admission , legacy-admissions policies reward those applicants with the foresight to choose parents who attended the university in question.
Athletic recruiting, on balance and contrary to the popular wisdom, also favors the wealthy, whose children pursue lacrosse, squash, fencing, and the other cost-intensive sports at which private schools and elite public schools excel. And, at least among members of the 0. Witness Jared Kushner, Harvard graduate. The mother lode of all affirmative-action programs for the wealthy, of course, remains the private school. Only 2. The other affirmative-action programs, the kind aimed at diversifying the look of the student body, are no doubt well intended.
But they are to some degree merely an extension of this system of wealth preservation. Their function, at least in part, is to indulge rich people in the belief that their college is open to all on the basis of merit. The plummeting admission rates of the very top schools nonetheless leave many of the children of the 9. But not to worry, junior 9. Thanks to ambitious university administrators and the ever-expanding rankings machine at U. The colleges seem to think that piling up rejections makes them special.
His first book in the Laura & Grandpa Series--Discovering Science Together received a Mom's Choice Award in His second book in this series received a. For years Dr. Krupp (aka Dr K) has been living his passion--teaching! In over six decades as an instructor, utilizing a blackboard and a slide rule to the.
In fact, it just means that they have collectively opted to deploy their massive, tax-subsidized endowments to replicate privilege rather than fulfill their duty to produce an educated public. The only thing going up as fast as the rejection rates at selective colleges is the astounding price of tuition.
Measured relative to the national median salary, tuition and fees at top colleges more than tripled from to Throw in the counselors, the whisperers, the violin lessons, the private schools, and the cost of arranging for Junior to save a village in Micronesia, and it adds up. To be fair, financial aid closes the gap for many families and keeps the average cost of college from growing as fast as the sticker price. But that still leaves a question: Why are the wealthy so keen to buy their way in?
In the United States, the premium that college graduates earn over their non-college-educated peers in young adulthood exceeds 70 percent. The return on education is 50 percent higher than what it was in , and is significantly higher than the rate in every other developed country. Not surprisingly, the top 10 had an average acceptance rate of 9 percent, and the next 30 were at 19 percent.
For those who made the mistake of being born to the wrong parents, our society offers a kind of virtual education system. It has debt—and that, unfortunately, is real. The people who enter into this class hologram do not collect a college premium; they wind up in something more like indentured servitude.
One of the stories we tell ourselves is that the premium is the reward for the knowledge and skills the education provides us. Another, usually unfurled after a round of drinks, is that the premium is a reward for the superior cranial endowments we possessed before setting foot on campus. Behind both of these stories lies one of the founding myths of our meritocracy. One way or the other, we tell ourselves, the rising education premium is a direct function of the rising value of meritorious people in a modern economy.
That is, not only do the meritorious get ahead, but the rewards we receive are in direct proportion to our merit. But the fact is that degree holders earn so much more than the rest not primarily because they are better at their job, but because they mostly take different categories of jobs.
Well over half of Ivy League graduates, for instance, typically go straight into one of four career tracks that are generally reserved for the well educated: finance, management consulting, medicine, or law. Not surprisingly, that is where you will find the college crowd.
Lawyers or at least a certain elite subset of them have apparently learned to play the same game. Similar occupational licensing schemes provide shelter for the meritorious in a variety of other sectors. Copyright and patent laws prop up profits and salaries in the education-heavy pharmaceutical, software, and entertainment sectors. Much of the rest of the technology sector consists of virtual entities waiting patiently to feed themselves to these beasts. Our society figured out some time ago how to deal with companies that attempt to corner the market on viscous substances like oil.
Until we do, the excess profits will stick to those who manage to get closest to the information honeypot. You can be sure that these people will have a great deal of merit. The game is more sophisticated than a two-fisted money grab, but its essence was made obvious during the financial crisis. The financial system we now have is not a product of nature. It has been engineered, over decades, by powerful bankers, for their own benefit and for that of their posterity.
Who is not in on the game? Auto workers, for example. Retail workers. Furniture makers. Food workers. The wages of American manufacturing and service workers consistently hover in the middle of international rankings. The exceptionalism of American compensation rates comes to an end in the kinds of work that do not require a college degree. In , 28 percent of all workers were members of trade unions, but by that figure was down to 11 percent. A genuine education opens minds and makes good citizens. It ought to be pursued for the sake of society.
Instead of uniting and enriching us, it divides and impoverishes. Which is really just a way of saying that our worthy ideals of educational opportunity are ultimately no match for the tidal force of the Gatsby Curve. Across countries, the same correlation obtains: the higher the college premium, the lower the social mobility. If the system can be gamed, well then, our ability to game the system has become the new test of merit. So go ahead and replace the SATs with shuffleboard on the high seas, or whatever you want.
How quickly would we convince ourselves of our absolute entitlement to the riches that flow directly and tangibly from our shuffling talent? How soon before we perfected the art of raising shuffleboard wizards? Would any of us notice or care which way the ship was heading? We see the iceberg. Will that induce us to diminish our exertions in supreme child-rearing?
As far as Grandfather was concerned, the assault on the productive classes began long before the New Deal. It all started in , with the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment. It also happens that ratification took place just a few months after Grandfather was born, which made sense to me in a strange way. By far the largest part of his lifetime income was attributable to his birth. Grandfather was a stockbroker for a time. I eventually figured out that he mostly traded his own portfolio and bought a seat at the stock exchange for the purpose. Politics was a hobby, too. At one point, he announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Connecticut.
What he really liked to do was fly. The memories that mattered most to him were his years of service as a transport pilot during World War II.
Or the time he and Grandmother took to the Midwestern skies in a barnstorming plane. My grandparents never lost faith in the limitless possibilities of a life free from government. But in their last years, as the reserves passed down from the Colonel ran low, they became pretty diligent about collecting their Social Security and Medicare benefits. There is a page in the book of American political thought—Grandfather knew it by heart—that says we must choose between government and freedom. Aristocrats always prefer the invisible kind of government.
It leaves them free to exercise their privileges. We in the 9. Consider, for starters, the greatly exaggerated reports of our tax burdens. The poorest quintile of Americans pays more than twice the rate of state taxes as the top 1 percent does , and about half again what the top 10 percent pays. Our false protests about paying all the taxes, however, sound like songs of innocence compared with our mastery of the art of having the taxes returned to us.
The income-tax system that so offended my grandfather has had the unintended effect of creating a highly discreet category of government expenditures. In theory, tax expenditures can be used to support any number of worthy social purposes, and a few of them, such as the earned income-tax credit, do actually go to those with a lower income. And—such is the beauty of the system—51 percent of those handouts went to the top quintile of earners, and 39 percent to the top decile.
The best thing about this program of reverse taxation, as far as the 9. The working classes get riled up when they see someone at the grocery store flipping out their food stamps to buy a T-bone. The unrealized tax liability on the appreciation of the house you bought 40 years ago, or on the stock portfolio that has been gathering moths—all of that disappears when you pass the gains along to the kids. When the remainder was divvied up among four siblings, Grandfather had barely enough to pay for the Bentley and keep up with dues at the necessary clubs.
The government made sure that I would grow up in the middle class. And for that I will always be grateful. Along the way, you pass immense elm trees and brochure-ready homes beaming in their reclaimed Victorian glory. Apart from a landscaper or two, you are unlikely to spot a human being in this wilderness of oversize closets, wood-paneled living rooms, and Sub-Zero refrigerators. We had to fight just to get the tile guy to show up! The gas guy does, too, and the tile guy comes in from another state. None of them can afford to live around here.
The rent is too damn high. From to , home values in Boston multiplied 7. When you take account of inflation, they generated a return of percent to their owners. San Francisco returned percent in real terms over the same period; New York, percent; and Los Angeles, percent. If you happen to live in a neighborhood like mine, you are surrounded by people who consider themselves to be real-estate geniuses. If you live in St. In , a house in St. Louis would trade for a decent studio apartment in Manhattan.
Today that house will buy an square-foot bathroom in the Big Apple. The returns on the right kind of real estate have been so extraordinary that, according to some economists, real estate alone may account for essentially all of the increase in wealth concentration over the past half century. Yet there is a paradox.