Red and blue inequality?

From David Brook’s op-ed in Monday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Following the red state/blue state analogy, Brooks writes about Blue and Red Inequality. Blue Inequality is the kind you see in places like NYC, Boston, LA and, I would suggest, Atlanta. The top one percent of earners amassing more and more wealth, helped along by lower tax rates. Many went to the same colleges and attend the same social functions. When I travel to New York and try to get a reservation on a Saturday night at a restaurant, any restaurant, one sees the impact of Blue Inequality. Despite the recession, an awful lot of folks are doing just fine. And then there is what he calls Red Inequality that resides in such places as Macon and almost every other town in Georgia except for Atlanta. The crucial inequality here is not between the top one percent and the bottom ninety nine. Rather, it’s between those with a college degree and those without. He writes: Over the past several decades, the economic benefit of education have steadily risen. In 1979, the average college graduate made 38% more than the average high school graduate. That gap has now risen to 75%. And college graduates have become even better at passing down the advantages to their children. If you are born to college educated parents, your odds of getting through college are excellent. If not, your odds are terrible. Brooks credits the Occupy Wall Streeters for bringing greater attention to Blue Inequality. But, he says, it’s Red Inequality which is much more devastating to our future. Sure, the zooming wealth of the top one percent is a problem but it’s not nearly as big a problem as the tens of millions of Americans who have dropped out of high school or college or can’t access a quality education to begin with. To this I say, amen.

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