America's Real Problem: The Opportunity Gap
More than two-thirds of American voters believe that the nation is in decline, according to a recent poll by the Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, and Pulse Opinion Research, an independent polling firm, writes Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page. And a clear majority, 57 percent, said that they think the next generation will be worse off than this one. He suggests that America reinvest in education to help create more opportunities.
Yet, a closer look reveals levels of pessimism varied sharply by race and political party. Republicans were more pessimistic than Democrats and blacks were much sunnier than whites.
An overwhelming 90 percent of Republicans said they thought the U.S. is declining, compared to fewer than half (47 percent) of Democrats. And two-thirds of Republicans but only 45 percent of Democrats feared today's kids will be worse off than their parents.
"Oddly enough," the Hill reported in its news pages, "African-Americans -- who were hammered much harder by the recession than whites -- are more optimistic about the direction of the country."
Actually, it is not that "odd" when you consider how much, despite the current economic woes, the long-range future of African-Americans looks better than it used to. Ironically, in the same post-1960s era that the U.S. has been losing its manufacturing base to overseas workers, walls of discrimination against nonwhites are breaking down. Through education and job-training, the black middle class grew rapidly.
Read Clarence Page's entire column at the Chicago Tribune.