Most of us were brought up to believe that, in contrast to most of the rest of the world, we Americans are an egalitarian society of opportunity where all have a chance to succeed. Given the rapidly growing disparity between the rich and poor in our country, that belief is as credible today as the tooth fairy.
The past two decades have seen a marked reversal in the relative status of children and elderly. A higher proportion of elderly have achieved financial security, while, owing mostly to many more single mothers, a higher proportion of children live in poverty. This trend is driven, according to Preston,1 by the distribution of political and economic power. The elderly are relatively powerful because there continue to be more of them, they vote, their children don't want to support them, and the rest of us want to be secure when we become old.