Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Does the Improving Economy Offer Opportunities to Raise Social Mobility?

The word “economy” is on everyone’s lips.  Things are looking bright for those who have a stake in the economic system. Markers in the service and manufacturing sectors are progressive and provide opportunities to put people to work while lowering the nation’s growing income disparity. The new economy offers the possibility to resize an unbalanced ship so that it finds benefits in hydroplaning to new levels. 

The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index increased to 58.7% while sixteen U.S. non-manufacturing industries led by construction and education also experienced growth (1).  To complement this growth the service sector also realized expansion adding further strength to the recovery and providing higher levels of employment.

According to the Commerce Department manufacturing also received positive growth numbers (2).  The U.S. is moving into a stronger competitive position that furthers its ability to maintain momentum. Manufacturing increases employment opportunities and heightens income opportunities for families that need a solid wage and opportunities.  

A particular problem rears its head when the cost of education is increasing thereby creating a class of people who do not have the skill to go to college or the financial resources to finish a degree program. The inability to obtain a meaningful education leaves them out of many highly skilled manufacturing jobs and thereby locking them out of Middle Class lifestyles. 

Despite the positive economy there are some serious risks if the income is not spread properly among varying social classes and peoples. According to a new report by Standard and Poor income inequality is reaching extreme levels that may hamper future national growth (3).  The problem has become so pronounced that it retards future forecasts by 2.5% creating a drag on the economy.

The benefits of improving on middle class wages and raising people out of poverty outweigh many other expensive programs. Those with financial resources and high incomes are becoming wealthier leaving behind the masses causing instability. Changing public policies and avoiding poor economic decisions is important for encouraging higher overall human development to meet national needs.

The S&P report also mentions that raising minimum wages is not the answer as even though income rises the opportunities may decrease leaving less total jobs. It could also push inflation rates where the dollar is worth less tomorrow than it is today. Part of income disparity is based in actual earning power beyond the amount of dollar bills obtained.

Education is a major component for social mobility. Traditional sports arena oriented college models have become unsustainable with its expensive tuition, declining state budgets, large buildings and the re-shifting of financial responsibility onto families. Reforming higher education will help in bringing more people forward with the necessary skills to work in this century helping them reach Middle Class status and creating greater social mobility that helps raise opportunities for the future of everyone.

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