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Question #1I am an unemployed, full time student with a year or more of college education. I earn around $10,000 a year and my family’s net income is around $50,000 a year.There was no option to choose unemployed in the rankings.  I would think that this is an oversight because surely there is a significant enough percentage of unemployment in the country to include it as one of the options. Nor was there the option to choose student.  However, as a student with a year or more of college education, I fit in the 69th percentile, which means that I have the same or more education than 69% of all Americans.  This seems quite high to me actually.  My income of up to $10,000 per year places me with only 3% of the population.  I am even more surprised at that because I would have thought more students would be in the same situation.  Finally, as I live in a family whose combined income is around $50,000 per year, we are somewhere between the 43rd and 55th percentile which places us approximately in the middle of the scale.  This places me in the middle class and I agree.Question #2The Times Nationwide Poll concerning opportunity and advancement showed that overall, people are optimistic about their futures.  Most people (75%) who responded to the poll said that the chance of moving up from one social class to another was the same or higher than it was 30 years ago and only 17% of people felt that they were in a lower class now than they were during their childhood.  Most people felt that, compared to Europe, it is at least the same or easier to rise in social standing in the US.  The majority of people also supported programs to assist lower income people get ahead, but only 11% felt that it was very likely that they would become wealthy in their lifetime.Question # 3I chose the category “Will you get there?”  The two questions asked were “Compared with your parents when they were the age you are now, how do you rate your standard of living?” and “If you are a parent, when your child is the age you are now, how will their standard of living compare to yours?”  In response to the first question, 66% of people replied that their standard of living was either “somewhat” or “much” better than their parents had been.  Only 13% responded that it was “somewhat” or “much” worse.  This seems to mean that, for the most part, people feel that they are doing well and are satisfied with their lives and are optimistic.  However, the second question reveals that only 56% felt that their children would do “somewhat” or “much” better than they themselves are doing now.  In addition to this, 22% thought their children would do “somewhat” or “much” worse.  This is interesting.  Although they believe that their own lives have gotten better, they also seem to think that the situation is going to worsen again.  Or perhaps they don’t have as much faith in their children’s abilities?Question # 4Structural mobility is when people do better than they or their parents used to.  They are able to move from one job to a better one because the market allows it (less competition or increased demand for the specific job).  In the interactive graphic, we see that in all classes, there are people moving up and some moving down, but in each class, a large percentage seem to stay where they are – especially in the top and bottom extremes.The bottom fifth and lower middle classes see the most movement up, but the movement does not reach the top fifth in many cases.  In contrast, the middle class sees a more even distribution but their movement is almost evenly distributed both up and down.  It is interesting that the changes in the top fifth and bottom fifth are almost identical but in reverse.Question #5The differences in the experiences of Jean Miele and Ewa Gora are shocking but perhaps not surprising.  Because of the difference in their social status (Jean is likely in the top fifth and Ewa in the bottom fifth) their treatment and recovery were vastly different.  While they both had been warned of the risk they had for a heart attack neither took the warnings seriously and both see their heart attacks as life changing events.  But this is where the similarities end.  Jean was into hospital and under examination in a cardiac unit within seven minutes of his heart attack.  Ewa, on the other hand was not examined for almost two hours after her attack and only admitted to hospital the next day where she never received an angiogram.  In addition to top of the line treatment, Jean received cardiac rehabilitation after his heart attack and since the attack, he has lost 34 pounds.  He is in better shape than he has been in years.  He feels that this has had a profoundly positive effect in his life.  Ewa, however, has tipped the scales at 200 pounds.  She has been shuffled from specialist to specialist and is afraid and unable to do anything physical such as dance or exercise.  She does not believe that she will ever be healthy again.  These two people have had the same health problem, but because of their wealth and standing in society, the results are vastly different. Question #6When Dan Croteau and Della Justice were younger, both of them lived in poorer circumstances.  Dan married a wealthy woman and this has likely shaped his perception of himself as a contributing member of his family.  Before his marriage, he was struggling in debt and working in a sales job.  His wife paid his debts and put him in a training course.  This has changed his life, but he still worries about having that lifestyle again.  I don’t get the sense that he feels secure.  Psychologically, this wealth is not his own.Della was a poor child living in foster care when a wealthier family member took her in and encouraged her education.  She went on to be a lawyer and do well.  She has returned to her home town and has found that her status with her family and friends has irreversibly changed.  The relationships are different now that she is in a different class and she has a very hard time finding her place in a town that is in some ways the same and yet completely different to her.  She struggles with the loss of her old life and her family connections but focuses on raising her half-brothers children to whom she wants to give a better childhood than she had.Question #7The two slide shows about education and class were thought provoking.  They reinforced the idea that being wealthy and in an upper class without education can be a precarious prospect.  The two presentations underline the value of education.In the slide show about the brother and sister, the sister with her doctorate feels happy about her choices in life, but perhaps a bit of an outsider socially in her community.  Her brother, on the other hand, has done well to fit into his community but perhaps regrets his decision to drop out of college.  He is planning to return and get a degree.In the slide show about the two ex-Kaiser employees in Spokane, they have both suffered after the close of the plant.  Both have seen a drop in their standard of living after the close despite their different jobs in the plant (one on the floor and one in management).  Neither man had a degree from college which is a fact that they both regret.  Due to their lack of education and perhaps age, neither has managed to find work and pay that was equivalent to that they had at Kaiser. Question #8The last section that I examined was “The Hyper Rich.”  In this section it was interesting to note from the slide show that even amongst classes, there are different values and opinions about what class means.  In Nantucket, for example, the “old rich” and the “new rich” tend to clash about what it means to be rich and how a person represents that.  Dr. Nina Chandler Murray, an established member of the “old rich” claims that the “new rich” have “no confidence” and that is why they flash their money around.  She herself favors a more subtle approach to having money and does not flaunt her wealth.  In this area of the US, where housing prices have jumped 25%, the mix of old and new is an interesting one and really symbolizes the mix within society as a whole.  According to information in this section, the rich are becoming rich at a faster rate than any other group – their wealth has more than doubled in the last 25 years.  Nevertheless, as the message of Dr. Murray reinforced, being of one class or another really does not mean that the ideas and values within that class will be shared.

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