By Leila Janah
My parents came to this country in 1978. Like so many first generation children of Indian immigrants, I learned to believe in a dream that is as much American as it is universal: a dream of equal opportunity for all based on merit, of power concentrated not in the hands of a few at the top, but fanning across a large, educated, and civically engaged middle class.
The reality, though, is that Americans have an increasingly difficult time rising from the bottom of the economic playing field. Part of the reason is because of the severe poverty that exists in the US–people have a harder time rising to the top because they start further behind. What’s worse is that people born into poverty tend to stay there.