Nov. 18 - Sean Reardon, Associate Professor of Sociology at Stanford University says the growing divide between rich and poor in the U.S. will polarize the political process. He adds the Occupy Wall Street protests are an example of this process.
As clashes between Occupy Wall Street protesters and authorities heat up a new report says the US is facing a rapidly shrinking middle class. Joining me is a coauthor of the report Sean Riordan is an associate professor of sociology. At Stanford University. Welcome Sean now you'll research shows -- since the 1970s. The middle class has been shrinking here -- instead -- you know arising out of high income and low income groups though. What does this -- for the economy. Well it means that there's fewer and fewer of these mixed income neighborhoods and more and more that are home to mostly poor families and mostly high income families. And I think that has. -- much of implications for society at large mattress. Economic times. -- well I think it is may lead to rising disparities in educational outcomes rising disparities in health outcomes. -- minute and a sort of growing lack of trust in. In society as we sort of are divided -- kind of two Americans and any economic implications well I think. When he economic implication is certainly that kids growing up in. Neighborhoods where most everyone is poor just have a much harder time ending up being successful in economy in a couple of big drain on the economy. What these and sunshine to solve the situation faced -- after it I think I understand where it. Where the problem comes from and partly as a result of rising income inequality is the rich get richer -- the and the poor's incomes don't grow. They can afford different places them lowering income inequality whether that's through. Increasing jobs and middle class jobs or or changing the tax code or various things like that might do a lot to help us well. Hi do you see that and your findings. Impacting the political direction -- in an election year. I think one concern that we might have about this is that. If representatives represent their constituency and it's constituencies are increasingly segregating by income. We're gonna have some representatives who largely represented high income families and some rulers who represent low income families. And that may lead to increasing so polarization of politics to the extent that the interest of those groups don't coincide -- Congress already -- -- deadlocked as it is -- May get even worse well it may also help explain why we've seen some increasing polarization of the last 3040 years. Well -- what about Occupy Wall Street Lou which is grabbing headlines days off DC any solutions this issue being provided violent movement. I think as a Occupy Wall Street has really tapped into it kind of is like guys there's a sort of the growing dissatisfaction that is that there really are having to America some people aren't happy with -- not the America that people have in mind when I think about where they wanna live. We'll -- on critics say the social safety net actually serves an obstacle for poor people to move up the social latter on what's your view on that. I think it's somewhat disingenuous to suggest that trying to help low income families actually harms harms them I mean. There's. A long history of going back to the group. FDR administration of sort of social supports have been very helpful. And so I think. And those can be good to him more segregation we have done less access to low income families have to kind of community safety net and supports that might help them be successful in the economy. I'll thanks lunch on the -- securities. Our thanks to John Reardon at Stanford University I'm Fred Katayama and this is royalties.