Libertarian-ish Bloomberg columnist and virtual acquaintance Megan McArdle came out to Salt Lake City to figure out how a red state can have the least income inequality, and at least for the last several years, the most income mobility in the country.
There’s no getting around it: For a girl raised on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Salt Lake City is a very weird place.
I went to Utah precisely because it’s weird. More specifically, because economic data suggest that modest Salt Lake City, population 192,672, does something that the rest of us seem to be struggling with: It helps people move upward from poverty. I went to Utah in search of the American Dream.
Columnists don’t talk as much as they used to about the American Dream. They’re more likely to talk about things like income mobility, income inequality, the Gini coefficient — sanitary, clinical terms. These are easier to quantify than a dream, but also less satisfying. We want money, yes, but we hunger even more deeply for something else: for possibility. It matters to Americans that someone born poor can retire rich. That possibility increasingly seems slimmer and slimmer in most of the nation, but in Utah, it’s still achievable.
The piece is entitled “How Utah Keeps the American Dream Alive”, and it extensively quotes Josh Price’s older brother Joe.