It turns out that Americans move up and down the income scale a lot.
According to an article, “From Rags to Riches to Rags” by Mark R. Rank (a professor of social welfare at Washington University):
54 percent of Americans will experience poverty or near poverty at least once between the ages of 25 and 60
56 percent will find themselves in the top 10 percent
Rather than talking about the 1 percent and the 99 percent as if they were forever fixed, it would make much more sense to talk about the fact that Americans are likely to be exposed to both prosperity and poverty during their lives, and to shape our policies accordingly. As such, we have much more in common with one another than we dare to realize.
So it seems like Walter Winchell’s advice was right on target:
“Be nice to those you meet on the way up. They’re the same folks you’ll meet on the way down.”
Greet a low-income woman with a smile today. She is full of potential and that smile can provide some of the confidence she needs to fulfill that potential.
Photo by Maeva Bic (free images.com)