But lately, I have been thinking:
Yet I see things differently:
We already have a more or less level playing field. The federal and state governments give everyone a chance to gain a high school education. They give everyone a chance to go to college. Not it isn't free, but it is possible if you are willing to work. Maybe not a prestigious institution like Harvard r whatever, but a college education is possible for even the poorest American if they are willing to do the work necessary to go. Grants and scholarships are available. In fact, the poorer you are, the more there are available. Everyone gets a chance to go, if they care to. And this can lead to a modicum of success if the degree is a marketable one. People DO have opportunities....they just choose to ignore them most of the time.
The thing is, many people CHOOSE to fail in our society. Yes, luck may play a part, but most people who are poor or who have failed to find what they expected life to be have made bad choices....often over and over again. Drugs, drinking, early motherhood, crime...just plain laziness, these are all factors in success (or not) in life.
Choosing to depend on the government for your livelihood is another reason to not get your expected lot in life.
And, quite often, laziness is the single largest factor. I know of no one who is successful who does not work hard. Most people who are successful to one degree or another are hard workers. They generally work more than 40 hours per week. They generally make choices that lead to income....I know plumbers and electricians and other tradesmen in the Midwest who make significantly more than I do....and often they work 70+ hour weeks. They also bring home really good money. And they made good choices that got them to where they are today with hard work and effort.
They also don't waste their money. They choose to live at or below their income level, and save their money for leaner times. Few have big debt, unless it is debt that they incurred starting their business. And they are trying hard to pay it off.
I have come to the conclusion that poverty (however you choose to define it) is most often due to culture. People are taught by those who raised them to be either successful or not. To live well, and make good choices, or not. To work hard and think for the future, or not.
Some people can learn to be successful despite the culture in which they are raised, and some cannot. Some who are raised to succeed choose not to. .
While some people are given advantages, we all are given the "level playing field" to succeed....or fail, as we choose. Yes, some are lucky, and some have advantages. But in most other parts of the world, you will seldom rise above the station to which you are born. And I include Europe in that description.
It isn't others keeping you down, it is generally yourself.
Is the paying field perfectly level? Absolutely not. But it is the most level of anywhere in the world.
Remember, having the right to succeed also means you have the right to fail.