A Mitch Daniels-Paul Ryan primer on upward mobility

by Ryan Streeter on November 28, 2011. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

The OWS movement has spawned seemingly endless commentary on inequality. Who’s rich and why? How big a deal is inequality? Is inequality really a big deal? Etc. etc.

The bigger issue isn’t so much inequality, which Americans typically don’t care about too much, but upward mobility. That is, Americans care most not about why rich people they don’t know are so rich, but about whether they themselves can get ahead year after year. People worry more about whether life is getting better for them than whether rich people are getting richer.

The 2011-2012 political cycle may well be the era in which Republicans find their voice on this issue. They haven’t found it yet. But they’re starting to. As I’ve written over the past year, the two main leaders in this regard have been Paul Ryan and Mitch Daniels, from whom most others on the right could learn something.

Here a few quick links for those of you interested in this topic:

    • Paul Ryan’s recent analysis of CBO’s report on income inequality (pdf)
    • Interesting recent Paul Ryan interview with James Pethokoukis at the Enterprise blog with
    • Paul Ryan IBD editorial
    • Paul Ryan speaks at Heritage
    • This comprehensive House Budget Committee analysis of CBO’s recent report on income inequality further unpacks the broader debate on how policymakers should approach issues of disparity and mobility in America. (reaction from NRO, The Hill, AEI, ThinkProgress)
    • Here’s a September round-up of Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan on the issue that I posted at ConservativeHome
    • Watch this video of Daniels talking about Ryan on the issue of upward mobility
    • Here’s my coverage of Mitch Daniels’ much-heralded CPAC speech earlier this year when he said “upward mobility from the bottom is the crux of the American promise”