If Martin Luther King were to see today's America, would he be proud? Paul Krugman thinks not. King dreamed his children would "not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Today, we've become "a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin—or at least not as much as in the past—but by the size of their paychecks," Krugman notes in the New York Times. And these days, your parents' paychecks look pretty similar to yours. "Goodbye Jim Crow, hello class system."
And there's a racial side to this growing American class system, explains Krugman: While in the 1960s and 1970s, "the percentage of black households in the top 20% of the income distribution nearly doubled," that growth came to a halt about 1980—when income inequality started to soar. Income inequality is tied to a lack of social mobility, according to the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; by 2035, he suggests, "the economic prospects of children" will mostly mirror the class they entered at birth. Mitt Romney wants to keep this discussion "in quiet rooms." It's time to follow King's example and "refuse to stay quiet," Krugman writes. Click to read his entire column. (Read more Paul Krugman stories.)