Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 34273
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2004/10/21 [Politics/Domestic/President/Bush, Politics/Domestic/California] UID:34273 Activity:very high
10/21   Some asswipe turbo-deleted the thread, so I ll resurrect something
        from it.  Ben, are you saying about 30% of the country actually
        agrees with what Bush et al are doing?  I am not sure where you get
        this number from, but even if you are right, do you think it's any
        different from any other president?  Clinton himself said something
        about the 4 years being necessary so the POTUS has the leeway to
        make unpopular decisions.  Are you saying popularity is the yardstick
        of the Presidency?  Do you think all presidents had a 50%+ mandate
        on their work (or should)?  I don't really see WHAT you are saying
        (other than "I REALLY disagree with this Bush guy, I wish he would
        just fuck off and die!").  I STILL don't see what his policies have to
        do with royalty, it sounds like some sort of liberal figure of speech,
        like me calling liberal policies 'communism' in jest.  Even the
        most venal pro-corp anti-everything else folks don't want Feudalism
        back, it will cut into the profits. -- ilyas
        \_ I was talking about election turnout/civic involvement. -scotsman
        \_ Bush is the most authoritarian President the US has had in
           at least 125 years, probably ever. I am sorry that you are
           so biased that you cannot see that. When you add that to his
           personal arrogance, there is a reasonable cause for concern.
                 \_ I'll spell it out slowly.  I'm not talking about the
                    popular conception of individual families.  I'm talking
                    about ceding our wealth and civic power over to wealthy
                    individuals and corporations (which for some damned
                    reason are people too...).  By cutting or eliminating
                    taxes on unearned or inherited wealth, the burden shifts
                    to income taxes and other revenue streams.  It also allows
                    massive wealth consolidation which means massive power
                    consolidation.  At the same time, deregulation takes away
                    our (the people's) recourse against bad actions by
                    these increasingly wealthy entities.  The reason we have
                    regulations are to keep meat safe to eat, drugs safe to
                    take, planes safe to fly on.  To keep the air breathable,
                    the water drinkable, and our economic markets running
                    smoothly.  The end of this slide would be feudalism, which,
                    as ilyas correctly says, will "cut into profits".  He seems
                    to say that people aren't that shortsighted, and that these
                    philosopher-kings of industry will be able to hold this
                    together.  I'm scared our society will break before that.
                    --scotsman
                    \_ If taxes worked so well on inherited wealth, how
                       come the Kennedys are all still liveing off
                       inherited wealth? (This question is only sort of
                       Trollish, I am sort of curious about what the
                       Kennedys do to make money.)
                       \_ The Kennedys live off a trust, and therefore do
                          not pay "inheritance taxes."  Only poor people
                          pay inheritence taxes, rich people all have
                          trusts.
                          \_ Yeah, all those poor people with estates >$1.5m
                             \_ You mean scotsman is worried about all those
                                schmucks with houses in Palo Alto?
                             \_ I think that number is wrong.  It says
                                here that, before Bush's change, estates
                                over $1mil were charged at the "top
                                rate." This suggests that estates smaller
                                than that would still be taxed.  Also,
                                $1mil isn't that hard to hit if you're
                                running a small business.
              http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2003/04/rules.html
                    \_ I'll try to summarize your two concerns firat.  You
                       are worried that 1. the change in tax code will
                       cause a concentration of wealth and power in the
                       elite classes, and 2. deregulation will offer the
                       common people less protection against the whims of
                       the elite.  I have good news for you, my friend.
                       Trivially googling found the following paper from
                       the Urban Institute (http://csua.org/u/91e  From
                       its conclusion, the study finds that "the evidence
                       suggests that the playing field is becoming more level
                       in the United States.  Socioeconomic origins today
                       are less important than they used to be.  Further, such
                       origins have lttle or no impact for individuals with
                       a college degree, and the ranks of such individuals
                       continue to increase."  So evidence suggests that,
                       contrary to your worries, the upper classes are becoming
                       less stratified and not more.  I recall reading that
                       most of the people on the first Forbes wealthiest list
                       are no longer there, and most of the members of that
                       list earned there money instead of inheriting it.
                       list earned their money instead of inheriting it.
                       I'd like to see evidence that there is the formation
                       of a calcified layer of feudal lords.
                       of a calcified layer of feudal lords.  On the
                       \_ It's actually http://csua.org/u/9le
                          and it was published in 1997.  Dumbass.  We're
                          talking about the absurd extremism of the last 3
                          years. --scotsman
                          \_ Well, I am sure you can come up with contrary
                             research that says the socioeconomic mobility
                             is decreasing, especially due to the tax policies
                             of the last few years.  Well?  How about research
                             that shows the increase of SE mobility after the
                             imposition of the tax?  Since that was adopted
                             in 1916, surely there has been enough time for
                             researchers to study the matter?  If the imposition
                             of the tax did not improve mobility, then would
                             the removal of the tax decrease it?  I wonder how
                             much the super-rich used to pay in inheritance
                             under the previous tax regime.  Have they already
                             been successful in avoiding those taxes?  You
                             made a lot of claims, how about some data?
                       deregulation side, I will take the less common
                       argument that fewer regulations making it easier for
                       new players to enter a particular field, and therefore
                       creates even more opportunity for socioeconomic
                       mobility.  Fewer rules makes it more difficult for
                       the entrench players to use government regulationis
                       to fend off new challengers, which in turns contributes
                       to the churn of players at the top.
           \_ Oh come on.  Is Bush as bad as Tricky Dick?  Or FDR (to be
              fair about picking authoritarian presidents)?  Bush hasn't
              been caught yet, and he hasn't had the chance to pack the
              Supreme Court either.
              \_ Yeah, he is.  Nixon, contrary to popular belief, made a solid
                 go at adhering to the Freedom of Information Act at the
                 beginning of his term; FDR never lied to get us into war.
                 \_ Ahem... lend-lease... ahem...
                    \_ ...waiting for relevance vis-a-vis lying to get us into
                       war.
                    \_ While lend-lease may have been a lie, it didn't get us
                       into war.  The Japan Embargo did, and that was done for
                       honest, if questionable reasons.
                    \_ I have a secret plan to end the Vietnam war...woops,
                       sorry, I don't!
                       \_ Don't take the Paris Peace Accords deal!  I'll make
                          you a better offer later!
           \_ And you base this authoritarian accusation on what?  Personal
              experience?  You have studied the history and in context
              background of every President?  I find this... unlikely.  If
              you just hate the guy, just say so.  You don't have to make
              outrageous, unsupported and unsupportable claims in a useless
              attempt to make it appear that your hatred is based on some
              false intellectual premise instead of personal animosity.
           \_ Who was the president 126 years ago, and why is Bush not as
              bad as he was?  Was it even an election year 126 years ago?
              Did you just pull the 125 year number out of your ass?
              \_ Rutherford B. Hayes was the evilest man to ever darken God's
                 green Earth.  On a more serious note, he lost the popular
                 vote but came out ahead in a 8-7 partisan split in a Senate
                 commitee to decide the election.  One of the 3 states whose
                 EVs were in dispute was... Florida. -!pp
           \_ I wouldn't say "Bush is the most authoritarian President" --
              without backup, you sound like a dumb liberal.  At least, you
              were an easy target for above posters.
              The argument is much sharper to describe the most important and
              obvious event instead of just applying a label.
              E.g.:  "The primary reason for invading Iraq was to eliminate a
              regime possessing WMD stockpiles, from which it could dole WMD
              kits out to terrorists who would without question use them.
              Saddam had used chemical weapons in the past, viewed them also
              as his trump card, and could believably distribute them to exact
              his vengeance against the U.S., which would be under the watch of
              Bush Sr.'s son.  President George W. Bush, having seen the
              stockpile reason vanish, instead insists that, had he known
              everything he knows today, would still have directed the U.S.
              to invade Iraq.  This is absurd."
        \_ ilyas complaining about a thead being deleted..  Welcome back to
           BIZARRO WORLD!!  In other news, the Red Sox are in the world
           series!  -meyers
           \_ Yeah, right.
        \_ It'd be hypocritical for Democrats to decry royalty in American
           politics.  (ref. the Kennedy clan and Camelot)
           \_ Democrats don't choose to get rid of dividend/capital gains/
              estate taxes.  Democrats don't vote for massive deregulation/
              reduced corporate oversight/stripping tort powers.  -scotsman
              \_ You do realize that many people think that cutting taxes
                 and deregulating industry are good things.  And none of
                 this have anything to do with claims of royalty.  Are the
                 Bushes more royal than the Kennedies?
                 \_ Bush: evil.  Kennedy: good.  You need to be sent to the
                    Martin Luther King Reeducation Kamp immediately!
                    \_ You're not very intelligent, are you?  It's okay, I'm
                       sure your parents still love you.
              \_ Yeah Ben, "no progressive taxation -> feudalism" is a new
                 'line of attack' for me.  I am sorry, it's really off the
                 wall. -- ilyas
                 \_ That's not "no progressive taxation".  It's tax the poor
                    and middle class, and give the rich a pass.
                    \_ Which isn't happening, but it makes a good scare
                       tactic!
                    \_ Counting all the tax cuts (including captital gains,
                       dividends, and estate), people in the 2nd-lowest
                       quintile got a 17.6% tax cut.  The middle quintile
                       was cut 12.6%, the 2nd-highest quintile 9.9%, and
                       the top quintile 11%.
                       http://www.slate.com/id/2108201
                       \_ Ah, short term vs. long term.  Numbers are funny
                          things.
                          \_ Data please.  Or are you just making
                             unsubstantiated claims?
                             \_ estate tax exemption will increase for next,
                                what, 7-8 years until no tax at the 10 year
                                mark.  dividend tax was halved in 2003, gone
                                in 2004. running the numbers for the last
                                2 years is patently dishonest.
                       \_ I don't have a problem with regressive _tax cuts_
                          as long as they result in a system which is closer
                          to a flat tax system, which I believe is fair.
                          (Regressive _tax_ is bad of course).  If you
                          think a flat tax system will lead to feudalism,
                          you are at the fringes of political discourse,
                          sorry. -- ilyas
                          \_ I posted the data to counter the claim that
                             the tax system is now less regressive.  It is
                             if anything more regressive.
           \_ The Kennedys are really great people so its ok.
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www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2003/04/rules.html
License or reprint this article ESTATE PLANNING The New Estate-Tax Rules The federal estate tax is scheduled to ride into the sunset by decade's e nd. But its ultimate fate is unclear: Like a movie that leaves the door open for a sequel, it's possible that the estate tax might return. Under the legislation signed by President Bush in June 2001, the federal estate tax will be gradually phased out. The law replaced the $675,000 u nified gift- and estate-tax credit with a $1 million unified exemption - - the amount that each individual can pass free of federal estate tax. The law also snipped the top estate-tax rate from 55% to 50% in 2002 and whittles the rate to 45% in 2009. Each person also gets a lifetime gift exemption of $1 million. Taxable gi fts -- those more than the $10,000 annual exclusion -- count against tha t limit. In 2010, when the estate tax is gone, the gift tax remains. In 2011, if lawmakers do nothing, the federal estate tax returns to 55% a nd estates of $1 million or more would again be taxed at the top rate. T he way it's written, "the repeal is really a suspension of the tax for o ne year," says Mark West of the Principal Financial Group, in Des Moines , which specializes in retirement and financial services. Expect Congress and future administrations to tinker with the law. If ant icipated budget surpluses don't materialize on schedule or fall short, m ore change is certain. For planning purposes, you can assume Congress will keep a large exemption. Neither outright repeal nor return to the present tax rates will fly. Increased exclusion amount may not measure up Despite the increases in the exemption amount, if your estate is at the t axable level, don't expect huge tax savings. For example, suppose you ha d a $10-million estate that grows 4% annually: If you had died before th e tax law, you would have owed about $49 million in estate taxes, says West. If you survive until 2008 and the law remains the same, your estat e would be $132 million and your estate-tax bill would still hover arou nd $49 million. If you died the following year (when the exemption is $ 35 million), the bill would drop to $46 million. If you lived until 20 10, your estate would pass tax-free. On the other hand, if you celebrate New Year's 2011 and then die leaving an estate of $148 million, Uncle Sam's share could approach $76 million. The step-up takes a step down The step-up in basis on inherited property will vanish in 2010. Currently , assets left to heirs generally receive a step-up in basis to the full market value on the date of your death. 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csua.org/u/91e -> www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A18982-2004Sep13?language=printer
com Expert Cited by CBS Says He Didn't Authenticate Papers By Michael Dobbs and Howard Kurtz Washington Post Staff Writers Tuesday, September 14, 2004; Page A08 The lead expert retained by CBS News to examine disputed memos from President Bush's former squadron commander in the National Guard said yesterday that he examined only the late officer's signature and made no attempt to authenticate the documents themselves. "There's no way that I, as a document expert, can authenticate them," Marcel Matley said in a telephone interview from San Francisco. The main reason, he said, is that they are "copies" that are "far removed" from the originals. Matley's comments came amid growing evidence challenging the authenticity of the documents aired Wednesday on CBS's "60 Minutes." The program was part of an investigation asserting that Bush benefited from political favoritism in getting out of commitments to the Texas Air National Guard. On last night's "CBS Evening News," anchor Dan Rather said again that the network "believes the documents are authentic." A detailed comparison by The Washington Post of memos obtained by CBS News with authenticated documents on Bush's National Guard service reveals dozens of inconsistencies, ranging from conflicting military terminology to different word-processing techniques. The analysis shows that half a dozen Killian memos released earlier by the military were written with a standard typewriter using different formatting techniques from those characteristic of computer-generated documents. CBS's Killian memos bear numerous signs that are more consistent with modern-day word-processing programs, particularly Microsoft Word. "I am personally 100 percent sure that they are fake," said Joseph M Newcomer, author of several books on Windows programming, who worked on electronic typesetting techniques in the early 1970s. Newcomer said he had produced virtually exact replicas of the CBS documents using Microsoft Word formatting and the Times New Roman font. Newcomer drew an analogy with an art expert trying to determine whether a painting of unknown provenance was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci. "If I was looking for a Da Vinci, I would look for characteristic brush strokes," he said. "If I found something that was painted with a modern synthetic brush, I would know that I have a forgery." Meanwhile, Laura Bush became the first person from the White House to say the documents are likely forgeries. "You know they are probably altered," she told Radio Iowa in Des Moines yesterday. "And they probably are forgeries, and I think that's terrible, really." Citing confidentiality issues, CBS News has declined to reveal the source of the disputed documents -- which have been in the network's possession for more than a month -- or to explain how they came to light after more than three decades. Yesterday, USA Today said that it had independently obtained copies of the documents "from a person with knowledge of Texas Air National Guard operations" who declined to be named "for fear of retaliation." It was unclear whether the same person supplied the documents to both media outlets. USA Today said it had obtained its copies of the CBS documents Wednesday night "soon after" the "60 Minutes" broadcast, as well as another two purported Killian memos that had not been made public. A detailed examination of the CBS documents beside authenticated Killian memos and other documents generated by Bush's 147th Fighter Interceptor Group suggests at least three areas of difference that are difficult to reconcile: Word-processing techniques. Of more than 100 records made available by the 147th Group and the Texas Air National Guard, none used the proportional spacing techniques characteristic of the CBS documents. Nor did they use a superscripted "th" in expressions such as "147th Group" and or "111th Fighter Intercept Squadron." In a CBS News broadcast Friday night rebutting allegations that the documents had been forged, Rather displayed an authenticated Bush document from 1968 that included a small "th" next to the numbers "111" as proof that Guard typewriters were capable of producing superscripts. In fact, say Newcomer and other experts, the document aired by CBS News does not contain a superscript, because the top of the "th" character is at the same level as the rest of the type. A CBS document purportedly from Killian ordering Bush to report for his annual physical, dated May 4, 1972, gives Bush's address as "5000 Longmont #8, Houston." This address was used for many years by Bush's father, George HW Bush. One CBS memo cites pressure allegedly being put on Killian by "Staudt," a reference to Col. Questioned about the discrepancy over the weekend, CBS officials said that Staudt was a "mythic figure" in the Guard who exercised influence from behind the scenes even after his retirement. To outsiders, how an officer wrote his name and rank or referred to his military unit may seem arcane and unimportant. Within the military, however, such details are regulated by rules and tradition, and can be of great significance. The CBS memos contain several stylistic examples at odds with standard Guard procedures, as reflected in authenticated documents. In memos previously released by the Pentagon or the White House, Killian signed his rank "Lt Col" or "Lt Colonel, TexANG," in a single line after his name without periods. In the CBS memos, the "Lt Colonel" is on the next line, sometimes with a period but without the customary reference to TexANG, for Texas Air National Guard. Bobby W Hodges, whom CBS originally cited as a key source in authenticating its documents, pointed to discrepancies in military abbreviations as evidence that the CBS memos are forgeries. The Guard, he said, never used the abbreviation "grp" for "group" or "OETR" for an officer evaluation review, as in the CBS documents. In its broadcast last night, CBS News produced a new expert, Bill Glennon, an information technology consultant. He said that IBM electric typewriters in use in 1972 could produce superscripts and proportional spacing similar to those used in the disputed documents. Any argument to the contrary is "an out-and-out lie," Glennon said in a telephone interview. But Glennon said he is not a document expert, could not vouch for the memos' authenticity and only examined them online because CBS did not give him copies when asked to visit the network's offices. Thomas Phinney, program manager for fonts for the Adobe company in Seattle, which helped to develop the modern Times New Roman font, disputed Glennon's statement to CBS. He said "fairly extensive testing" had convinced him that the fonts and formatting used in the CBS documents could not have been produced by the most sophisticated IBM typewriters in use in 1972, including the Selectric and the Executive. On last night's "CBS Evening News," Rather said "60 Minutes" had done a "content analysis" of the memos and found, for example, that the date that Bush was suspended from flying -- Aug. He also noted that USA Today had separately obtained another memo from 1972 in which Killian asked to be updated on Bush's flight certification status. CBS executives have pointed to Matley as their lead expert on whether the memos are genuine, and included him in a "CBS Evening News" defense of the story Friday. Matley said he spent five to eight hours examining the memos. "I knew I could not prove them authentic just from my expertise," he said. "I can't say either way from my expertise, the narrow, narrow little field of my expertise." In looking at the photocopies, he said, "I really felt we could not definitively say which font this is." But, he said, "I didn't see anything that would definitively tell me these are not authentic." Asked about Matley's comments, CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said: "In the end, the gist is that it's inconclusive. People are coming down on both sides, which is to be expected when you're dealing with copies of documents." Questions about the CBS documents have grown to the point that they overshadow the allegations of favorable treatment toward Bush. Prominent conservatives such as Rush Limb...
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everyday economics How the dismal science applies to your life. They are skewed in favor o f those who already pay less than their rightful share of taxes and shif t the burden even farther onto the shoulders of the most overtaxed. In o ther words, the Bush tax cuts are unfair to the rich. I know there's a lot of hype to the contrary, but look at the numbers. If you and your spouse have a taxable income of $60,000 a year, you've had almost a 24 percent income tax cut since President Bush took office. Pre-Bush, the $1 million a year couple paid 33 times as much as the $60,0 00 couple; After that, with some minor dips up and down, the rela tive size of your tax cut falls off as your income rises. But what about capital g ains, dividends, and inheritancethe cuts that supposedly skew the gains in favor of the rich? Well, let's throw all those changes in, and while we're at it let's include changes in the child-care tax credit, the ear ned income tax credit, the alternative minimum tax, and payroll taxes fo r Social Security and Medicare. The biggest percentage tax cutabout 176 percent went to taxpayers in the second-lowest quintile, that is to taxpayers w ith below-average incomes. After that, the size of the tax cut falls off as you move from the lower middle to the middle middle (126 percent) t o the upper middle class (99 percent). It rises again slightly for the top quintile, but only to a little over 11 percent. Moreover, if you break that top quintile down into finer pieces, you disc over that the super-rich weren't treated much better than the near-super -richand certainly no better than the middle class. If you were in the top 20 percent of taxpayers, your tax cut was about 11 percent. If you w ere in the top 1 percent, your tax cut was still about 11 percent. Then you got about a 127 percent cutalmost exactly the same as the median taxpayer. But that's true onl y under a ridiculously literal interpretation of the term "tax cut." In fact, federal spending has increased dramatically under President Bush ( with only a small fraction of that spending attributable to the war). So oner or later, somebody's going to have to pay for all that spending, wh ich means that just as the president's been cutting the taxes of today, he's been raising the taxes of tomorrow. The "cuts" of the past few years have established a precedent that in the future the rich will bear a larger share of the burden than they bore in the past. Thanks to the president, the tax code is more progressive now than it's been in recent memory, a nd that's a hard sort of change to undo. We got where we are by cutting taxes mostly for the poor and the middle class; to reverse that, you'd h ave to raise taxes mostly on the poor and the middle classand think of the outcry that would cause. So in the not too distant future, most of us will be paying higher taxes, but the rich will be paying a larger share of those taxes than anyone w ould have expected before the Republicans came to town. My own opinion is that the rich already pay too muchit seems patently un fair to ask anyone to pay over 30 times as much as his neighbors (unless he receives 30 times as much in government services, which strikes me a s implausible). If you share my sense of fairness, you'll join me in con demning the president's tax policy. But if, on the other hand, you believe that the tax system should soak th e rich even more than it already doesor, to put it more genteelly, that the tax system should be more progressive than it already isif, in oth er words, you are a mainstream Democratthen George W Bush is your guy. Moneybox: Why New York Restaurants Are Actually Cheap The Zagat Guide Turns 25 Since it started in 1979, the Zagat Survey has become the indispensable L ittle Red Book of ...
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ID=406796 Companion Piece to Number 4 in Series, "Opportunity in America" The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily ref lect those of the Urban Institute, its board, its sponsors, or other aut hors in the series. The authors would like to thank Robert Hauser, Michael Hout, and Seymour Martin Lipset for very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this pape r without in any way implicating them in our final conclusions. Young men today have lower incomes than their fathers' generation did at a similar age. Both of these ph enomena raise significant questions about a broader issue: the extent of social and economic opportunities available in today's society. Generat ional income comparisons or statistics on the extent of income inequalit y, however, do not provide sufficient evidence to make an accurate judgm ent on the crucial question of how much opportunity exists for an indivi dual growing up in the United States. These aggregate data must be compl emented by an understanding of the extent to which a child in today's so ciety is able to do better than his or her parents, and whether this is related to a more open structure in which class matters less than it use d to or simply to an expansion of the total opportunities available to e ach generation as the result of economic growth. This paper examines the relationship between an individual's socioeconomic status and the statu s of his or her parents (or intergenerational mobility) and the reasons for any change in this relationship over time. Intergenerational mobility for any one individual is determined primarily by two factors: the amount of opportunity in society, and the r ate of economic growth and associated change in the occupational structu re. The mo re closely an individual's socioeconomic status is determined by parents ' status, the less opportunity exists. The more independent the two are, the more opportunity is present, and the more likely it is that childre n with equal abilities will have an equal chance to succeed. A society with a significant degree of opportunity would be one in which children reape d little or no advantage from being born into a rich family rather than a poor one. Other factors such as social class, race, and gender would not affect occu pation or earnings. On the other hand, a society with little opportunity would be one in whic h individuals are not allowed to rise or fall on their own merits. A cas te system, in which everyone is assigned a role at birth, is an example of such a society. Regardless of their individual talents, most children would be expected to end up in the same occupations as their parents an d have similar living standards, reflecting the lack of individual oppor tunity. The Role of Economic Growth The rate of economic growth also fuels intergenerational mobility because productivity growth is the fundamental factor that drives wages (and, t o a lesser extent, per capita living standards). Over time, improvements in overall productivity and corresponding increases in wage levels tend to make children, on average, better off than their parents were. In an economy with ever-increasing productivity, children may surpass their p arents' standard of living simply through overall improvements in living standards even if there is little or no movement between the ranks of the rich and poor in that society. Thus, it would be possible to have a society in which there is no individual opportunity, but in which every child still climbs the economic ladder. Throughout American history, the majority of children have been able to d o better than their parents. This is primarily the result of economic gr owth although differential fertility rates by social class can also ha ve an effect. How Much Opportunity Would We Expect in an Open Society? In the United States, our public philosophy is grounded in the idea of op portunity. Americans believe more strongly than individuals in other cou ntries that success should and does reflect individual effort. This is, in part, a result of biological and family-related influ ences that may have the effect of perpetuating class advantages or disad vantages. Genetic inheritance alone would lead us to expect at least some relations hip between the positions of parents and their children, no matter how m uch opportunity is available in a society. If income-earning ability is even partially influenced by genetic characteristics, there will be a po sitive relationship between parents' and children's earnings, regardless of how equally opportunity is provided in that society. One oft-cited f actor that may affect income-earning ability is an individual's measured cognitive ability, or "intelligence." We estimate, however, that not mo re than 4 percent of the variation in children's earnings can be associa ted with the genetic transmission of cognitive ability. There will likely always be a natural tendency for parents who occup y positions of high status to try to extend their privileges to their ch ildren. Hence, in every stratified, complex society there is, as Plato suggested, a st raining toward aristocracy and a limitation of mobility." Public institu tions can partially compensate for this tendency, but are unlikely to be able to compensate fully short of imposing extraordinary measures tha t would drastically disrupt the rights of families to raise their own ch ildren. Thus, it is difficult to determine the maximum degree of opportunity that would be possible in a society in which some fraction of talents and am bitions are passed to the next generation through various biological and familial processes. In addition to the numerical estimate discussed abo ve, we can also gain some insight into the level of mobility in American society, however, by comparing mobility in the United States to that in other countries. Further, if the extent of intergen erational immobility falls outside the range discussed above, then we mi ght conclude that the playing field in the United States is not entirely level, and that class or family background continues to make a differen ce. We will make use of both of these forms of comparison in the section s that follow. A Note on Terminology In the academic literature, the two factors discussed above (opportunity and economic growth) are referred to as circulation mobility and structu ral mobility, respectively. Circulation mobility (sometimes called excha nge mobility) is the independent association between an individual's occupation or socioeconomic status (often referred to as the individual 's "destination"), and the occupation or socioeconomic status of the individual's parents at an earlier time (the individual's "origin"). Th e lower the association between the two, the more intergenerational mobi lity exists, all else being equal. Structural mobility refers to overall shifts in the occupational mix, which affect the job prospects for indi viduals from different generations. Over time, as the economy has grown, the distribution of jobs has tilted toward the high-status end of the o ccupational spectrum, thereby improving intergenerational mobility for y ounger generations. Intergenerational Mobility in the United States In the sections that follow, we discuss research that has shed light on t hree important questions related to intergenerational mobility in the Un ited States. Third, how does intergenerational mobi lity in the United States compare to other countries? To summarize the evidence at the outset, there appears to be significant intergenerational mobility in the United States, although perhaps less t han is sometimes believed. Sp ecifically, adult sons and daughters are more likely to look like their parents in terms of occupation or income than one would predict on t he basis of chance. Indeed, even when occupations or income categories are broadly defined, a majority of adult offspring occupy a different occupational or income category than their parents (even though the most likely single category is still tha t of their parents). The causes of this intergenerational mobility have varied over time. Circ ulation mobility has...