The Democratic presidential candidates are claiming that the rich are getting richer but ordinary Americans are falling behind. What they're ignoring is that the five income quintiles (20%) are not static categories; they're dynamic. People are continually moving from one quintile to another. Most people move into higher quintiles as they get older. The move upward is usually greater when you compare parents with their children and grandchildren. Their places in the bottom quintile are normally taken by new arrivals. The men and women who maintain your yards, sew your clothes and pick your fruit and vegetables are likely to be recent immigrants. All my grandparents came from Scandinavia around 1900. My maternal grandparents initially worked as servants for an upper class family as a maid and coachman. That's how they met. They were probably in the lowest quintile. Since the 1970s my wife and I have been in the highest. Many Americans have similar histories.
Douglas R. Holm
Disclaimer: As submitted to the Arizona Daily Star.