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Red bars showing people who didn't go to college and blue bars showing people who did. Grouped by the income quintile they were born into, and within each bar you see where they ended up. Result: "you are 2.5x more likely to be a rich adult if you were born rich and never bothered to go to college than if you were born poor and, against all odds, went to college and graduated."
Putting these two stories next to each other without a whole lot of comment. Matt Bruenig looks into the important question of what's more important: a college degree or being born rich? Of course, you're more likely to go to college if you were born rich, but it doesn't stop there. In the chart above, the red bars are people who didn't go to college and the blue bars are people who did. They're grouped by the income quintile they were born into, and within each bar you see where they ended up. Bruenig lays out the results:
Look at the red bar furthest to the right. That is the bar describing where kids born into the richest fifth who do not get a college degree wind up. Notice that 25% of those kids still wind up in the richest fifth. Now look at the blue bar furthest to the left. That is the bar describing where kids born into the poorest fifth who do get a college degree wind up. Notice that only 10% of those kids wind up in the richest fifth.

So, you are 2.5x more likely to be a rich adult if you were born rich and never bothered to go to college than if you were born poor and, against all odds, went to college and graduated. The disparity in the outcomes of rich and poor kids persists, not only when you control for college attainment, but even when you compare non-degreed rich kids to degreed poor kids!

So basically, if you have the choice between being born rich and going to college, be born rich. Next up, let's see what Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin had to say about a jobs fair she stopped by. Here's her description of the high end of the jobs at this jobs fair, IT jobs specifically:
This is how you go about getting it. You take your resume and you put it into a database. And this firm essentially collects resumes and then they kind of troll for government contracts. And when they find a government contract that might use your resume then they call you. Then you might actually get a job.

‘So what I need to do is put in my resume and then I’ll be able to get this job?’ And she said ‘yes.’

And I said: ‘while I’m waiting can I go to some other firms and throw my resume into their databases as well?’

And she said ‘oh no, you can’t do that, because you’re going to sign a letter of intent.’ And that letter of intent is basically an exclusivity agreement that says that by putting your resume in here you agree to not put your resume anywhere else.

I said ‘well, gosh, that’s going to be kind of rough. But tell me: what are the percentage chances that I’ll get a job?’

‘You know, we’re doing pretty well. Maybe a 25 percent chance.’

‘How do these jobs pay?’

‘They pay by the hour.’

‘Do they pay benefits?’

‘No benefits, it’s a straight hourly job. And it’s temporary so it’s going to be until the government contract is completed.’

This was really eye-opening for me.

Can you draw the connection between these two items?

Continue reading below the fold for more workers' news.

The rest:

  • The People's Tour for America has gone through Little Rock, Dallas, and Roswell and arrived at Netroots Nation. When I ran into producer Brett Banditelli, he was setting up an interview with a low-wage worker who'd just spoken at the Raise Up America rally. Sure to be lots of good stories to come.
  • A Missouri for-profit college has been slapped with a $13 million jury verdict for telling a woman she was enrolling in a medical assistant degree program, only to then tell her, more than a year and $27,000 in loans later, that she was actually in a medical office assistant program and would have to take months more and another $10,000 in loans to get the medical assistant degree. The amount of the award will doubtless be appealed and reduced, but chances are she's going to be able to pay her loans back, and Vatterott College may think twice before pulling that particular trick too many more times.
  • Breath of fresh air: The state of Indiana is suing an educational testing company for computer breakdowns during the testing. So rare to see accountability extended to big corporations.
  • Excluded from federal standards, California home aides get their day in court.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  how to get ahead? (5+ / 0-)

    Win the lottery.

    That's what it's there for . . . to give you a "fair chance" . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:00:26 AM PDT

  •  Wrong question: how do you rise? To the 1% the (7+ / 0-)

    correct question is: which one percenter will you serve?

    This is why all the "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" and other Teapublican drivel makes me sick.

  •  Yes indeed. If you're born rich and stupid you (6+ / 0-)

    can still succeed in America.

    And yes indeed people like that fed governor live in a bubble totally disconnected from the reality of most people.

    Marie Antoinette, when told the peasants had no bread, said let them eat cake instead.  Just an example of that disconnect.

    •  Well.... (4+ / 0-)
      Marie Antoinette, when told the peasants had no bread, said let them eat cake instead.
      Is 'let them eat cake' similar to 'let them eat cat food'?
      Sad for her that the rabble of her time didn't have the epic somnambulance of TV to lull them away from reality.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:32:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmmmm... FWIW (4+ / 0-)

        But did Marie-Antoinette really say those infuriating words? Not according to historians. Lady Antonia Fraser, author of a biography of the French queen, believes the quote would have been highly uncharacteristic of Marie-Antoinette, an intelligent woman who donated generously to charitable causes and, despite her own undeniably lavish lifestyle, displayed sensitivity towards the poor population of France.

        That aside, what’s even more convincing is the fact that the “Let them eat cake” story had been floating around for years before 1789. It was first told in a slightly different form about Marie-Thérèse, the Spanish princess who married King Louis XIV in 1660. She allegedly suggested that the French people eat “la croûte de pâté” (or the crust of the pâté). Over the next century, several other 18th-century royals were also blamed for the remark, including two aunts of Louis XVI. Most famously, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau included the pâté story in his “Confessions” in 1766, attributing the words to “a great princess” (probably Marie-Thérèse). Whoever uttered those unforgettable words, it was almost certainly not Marie-Antoinette, who at the time Rousseau was writing was only 10 years old—three years away from marrying the French prince and eight years from becoming queen.

        •  Oh well.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maryabein, historys mysteries

          She lost her head anyway.

          I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

          by Lilyvt on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:50:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well think of it as a sort of midrash (0+ / 0-)
        •  Not to mention the apocryphal (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban, MasterKey, historys mysteries

          story about the Christmas she gave her children:

          Wishing to give her children yet another lesson of beneficence [during the long and severe winter of 1783-84], she desired me on New Year’s eve to get from Paris, as in other years, all the fashionable playthings, and have them spread out in her closet. Then taking her children by the hand, she showed them all the dolls and mechanical toys which were ranged there, and told them that she had intended to give them some handsome New Year’s gifts, but that the cold made the poor so wretched that all her money was spent in blankets and clothes to protect them from the rigour of the season, and in supplying them with bread; so that this year they would only have the pleasure of looking at the new playthings.
          Also, from Wikipedia:
          Marie Antoinette was determined that her daughter should not grow up to be as haughty as her husband's unmarried aunts. She often invited children of lower rank to come and dine with Marie-Thérèse and encouraged the child to give her toys to the poor. In contrast to her image as a materialistic queen who ignored the plight of the poor, Marie Antoinette attempted to teach her daughter about the sufferings of others.
          Frankly, Marie Antoinette received a lot of undeserved bad press over the centuries. She was no saint in life, but she did her best to be a caring and giving person - and not just to her immediate circles of friends and family.

          "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

          by Australian2 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:19:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  hunger tends to trump that (0+ / 0-)
    •  I was in grad school one day when the prof (4+ / 0-)


      we have known for years that A&B students work for C students
      It was very depressing.
  •  Companies that require exclusivity agreements (4+ / 0-)

    before they give you an actual signed hire letter or contract agreement should be boycotted by all IT folks to force them to stop this BS.

    Exclusivity agreements make sense if you have accepted an offer in writing that delineates the four corners of your employment contract.  If you break the contract, they can sue you, for reason.  They have locked in to you, and you have locked in to them.

    This "lock you into us but we promise you nothing" unless we decide we choose you, is unreasonable.  

    Poetry magazines used to do this with submissions, you couldn't submit the same poem to more than one contest, or your submission was void - even if it took them a year to make a decision. That practice has mostly ended because it was extraordinarily unfair, "usurious", and punitive.  And poets started self publishing on-line.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:21:40 AM PDT

    •  Seems grossly undesirable for us commoners (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uncle Moji, YucatanMan, Laconic Lib

      like asking us to stick our foot into a bear trap.

    •  these arent the final companies (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Uncle Moji, maryabein, duhban, Laconic Lib

      These are all headhunter/staffing firms. There are hundreds of them.  ALL these headhunters are angling at the same contracts. The arguably sensible idea is that if you give your name ti Recruiter A, then recruiter A will argue on your behalf for Job Z.  If Recruiter B, C, D, and E also have your resume, the actual hiring department is overwhelmed.

      This doesn't stop you using recruiter B for Job Y, and C for Job X and so on

      We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

      by ScrewySquirrel on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:04:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have been used to contracting (0+ / 0-)

        with a headhunter to find candidates for a particular position.  We sign a contract with them, they find candidates and we review.  

        So are you suggesting that if I fail Recruiter A because he or she gives me no useful pool of candidates that Recruiter B may show up with the same pool of candidates if they don't have exclusivity contracts with the employees?  

        If I saw the same unacceptable names pop up on both pools I would assume neither recruiter has done a good job in vetting their pools for appropriateness for my job(s), and fire them both.

        Honestly, as the hiring entity, I want qualified candidates, I don't care how I get them, as long as I don't have to waste the time searching or unless I am engaged in a confidential search.

        So, while I understand how this works for recruiters, I am still not as sanguine about how this works for candidates or for employers.  But maybe I am just missing some nuance.  Thanks for your time.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:21:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not quite (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Government contracts cannot sign exclusivity agreements with just your staffing firm,  They have to be open to everyone.  And so EVERYONE tries to get an angle on it.

          So, to avoid 'person A gets submitted by 20 different companies to this government contract position'  (repeat 300 times for each applicant!), you say 'for this contract, I will have you advocate for me,l and won't also submit my name for this same conbtract wih any other recruiter'

          It happens as well in private sectors if a company gives a position opening to several recruiters, but government contracts in particular are SWAMPED with this because they can't limit who can do the headhunting for them.

          We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

          by ScrewySquirrel on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 01:18:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  That and unpaid internships (5+ / 0-)
      Like 30 percent of undergraduates in the United States, my daughter, Emma, has an unpaid internship this summer. She is one of the lucky ones. She is following her passion: her internship at a food Web site is in her field of study; the work she’s doing there is providing her, at age 20, with valuable skills, experience and connections.

      But the idea of an unpaid internship is a misnomer — mostly because someone is, in some sense, paying. In this case, it’s my husband and me (with a helping hand from various friends and relatives).

      Emma’s internship is in New York City, across the country from our Los Angeles home. We can afford it, in large part, because she has a friend whose family generously offered her a place to stay this summer. Otherwise, she might have had to pass on this great opportunity. (Her friend, by the way, is a fellow undergrad with an unpaid internship at a Condé Nast magazine.)

      There are, of course, other expenses: round-trip airfare, housing incidentals, food and a MetroCard, to name just a few. With no salary, Emma herself can’t afford any of those things — more expenses for the parents who are footing the bill. These are costs that only those with relatively high incomes can afford. Meanwhile, those who are from less well-to-do households are getting left behind.

      In a poor economy the corporate insects will feed on those who have no choice.
      The Privilege of the Unpaid InternBy RANDYE HODER

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:23:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm in IT/medical programming and work (0+ / 0-)

      mostly contract/hourly. There are scores of recruiters with various business models and boilerplate they want you to sign. Some are better than others. I NEVER SIGN ANY "agreement" that even hints of exclusivity. First of all, it's an injustice, akin to high-tech slavery - second it's probably unenforceable legally in just about any state. I'd much rather not work at all than allow myself to be in harness to some of the slime contract-writers out there. But unfortunately, sometimes they get away with it - especially when the job-seeker has few choices -- many of the "talent shops" out there are run by immigrants (usually from India) sponsoring H1B visa workers, also from India or Banglasesh. They exploit their own kind. The way the job seekers are treated amounts to a modern version of indentured servitude. Then they try to pull that crap on some of us US citizens - I zap them with a long and intimidating harangue about how they are breaking slavery laws and how if I don't sue them, someone soon will...

    •  How Do They Check (0+ / 0-)

      I'd say sign the "confidentiality agreement" and then sign up with any and all other recruiters.  Just how are they going to check all of the names in their database against those candidates in other recruiter databases?  If they're swapping names, they're involved in anti-trust and should be broken up.  That would make for some interesting reading.  

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:10:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Every one of those attendees should take (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArchTeryx, MasterKey

    a course in networking.

    If you are not in those few golden brackets, one of the best ways to get good jobs is to start meeting a lot of people.

    Some of those people came up from the lower brackets, and they know damn well how much that is worth and when they see somebody else, who is a good person trying to get after it just like they did, they are inclined to extend a helping hand up.

    The result of that is absolutely kick ass, almost family like work teams, and everybody knows it.

    It is not that I am against the job fair kind of thing.  There is a place for that, but it does validate the whole idea of education to fill specific job slots, not education to build great people who then can make things happen, in a sense filling many different job slots, or even make their own.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***

    by potatohead on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:26:20 AM PDT

  •  capital accumulation depends on individual and (0+ / 0-)

    institutional power so we each create relative surplus value not necessarily based on direct labor (savings bonds might be no different than lottery tickets), although it can be measured  and social savings and of course prior endowments. Short of social banditry, wealth redistribution must be aggressively won in class struggle

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 11:43:31 AM PDT

  •  the best way to be rich has always been to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powered Grace

    have rich parents.

    The chances of the American dream---of working hard, saving your money, forming your own business, getting rich and living well the rest of your life--are astronomically low.

    Yet, like the lottery, hope springs eternal for most. . . . After all, some people DO win the lottery.

    •  But going to college STILL pays (0+ / 0-)

      And now we have the data to prove it. Particularly college keeps you out of the bottom 40%. The great crime of the Repub and their Dem enablers is that college is bloody expensive. Guess which family income quintile THAT favors.

      What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

      by TerryDarc on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:28:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You rise in arms, apparently. (0+ / 0-)

    It's not as if we can vote our way out of the plutocracy.

  •  Kudos to Mrs. Raskin (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alice kleeman

    At least she's trying to understand what it's like for the people affected by her policies in terms other than numbers on paper....which puts her ahead of every single Republican politician in the USA.

    "Violence never requires translation, but it often causes deafness." - Bareesh the Hutt.

    by Australian2 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:11:46 PM PDT

  •  "It's my parents' fault I'm not rich!" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) finds that social mobility between generations is dramatically lower in the U.S. than in many other developed countries.

    So if you want your children to climb the socioeconomic ladder higher than you did, move to Canada.
  •  Something missing in the top graph - (0+ / 0-)

    or at least something misleading. The farther to the right you go, the less earned income matters, and the more effect off-the-books income/parental or family support becomes a factor. There's simply a larger population of kids who don't need to work for an income, and never will. Doesn't mean they won't work, just that salary won't be a critical factor when enough other resources are available.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:24:52 PM PDT

  •  There are plenty of jobs out there (4+ / 0-)

    ...if you wanna work minimum wage.

      The problem is finding jobs that pay a living wage. Those are like finding a needle in a haystack.

    “Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.” ― Upton Sinclair

    by gjohnsit on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:55:55 PM PDT

  •  Top Quintile Not the Rich (0+ / 0-)

    Your analysis is skewed by viewing the top 20% as the rich when if fact it represents people making income of 100k and up. In fact only the top 2.5% make more then 250k. In other words there is relatively little income difference between most of the people in the top quintile and those in the middle (at roughly 55k income) of the distribution - perhaps 50k a year. And while that amount of money can buy a very different standard of living it is not the difference between being one step away from the street (when all of that money comes from a paycheck) and economic security.

    I would suggest that the 10% of people born into the top quintile who stayed there despite not pursuing a college degree are made up of mostly people who succeed at occupations that don't require a degree such as sales or owning a business and the rest were at the very top and inherited money from their very wealthy parents. In other words, I think that there is even less income mobility than this fairly broad categories suggest. For the truly wealthy - the top 1% - they are guaranteed wealth no matter what they do.

  •  it's not just IT (0+ / 0-)

    I seriously considered trying to do the same in Chemistry where pretty much to get your foot in the door (ie your intital job) you have to do contract work.

    I got more then a little lucky both in that that didn't have to happen and even more lucky in other regards.

    In the time that I have been given,
    I am what I am

    by duhban on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 03:39:22 PM PDT

  •  You must return to the source and be reborn rich.. (0+ / 0-)

    Mitt Romney said it worked for him.

  •  I Call Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

    College grads are more likely to be upwardly mobile?  Pardon me while I laugh out ::LOUD::   What a steaming pile of nonsense.  Evidently, the chart doesn't take into consideration that HALF the country is under & unemployed, and oh by the way, THIS "recession" on Main Street, while Wall Street enjoys record breaking profit margins, is almost exclusively a college graduate recession.  

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. -Thomas Jefferson

    by Zen Warrior on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 07:53:12 AM PDT

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