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[snip] "The idea that the United States is 'an increasingly mobile society' is an indestructible intellectual weed," writes Alison Stein Wellner in Reason magazine. "In 2004 less than 14 percent of U.S. residents moved--the lowest figure since the Census Bureau began collecting the data in 1948, when the moving rate was 20 percent." Most moves are local, and few are work related. Even the younger generation is more settled, with 37 percent of twentysomethings moving in 1948, 28 percent in 2004. "According to the historian Stephanie Coontz . . . a person born today is more likely to remain near his birthplace than a person born in the 19th century."

[snip] Is the glass 28 percent full or 72 percent empty? Catalyst Chicago reports information from research by the schools watchdog group Designs for Change: "In 1996 and 1997, 85 [Chicago Public] elementary schools were placed on probation because fewer than 15 percent of their students scored at or above national norms in reading. By 2005, 28 percent of the students in the 68 schools that remained open scored at or above average."

[snip] "Our country's entitlement programs are models of bureaucratic efficiency," observes Ezra Klein in the New Republic. "Social Security spends less than 1 percent of its budget on administration; for Medicare, it's 2 percent. Compare that with private health insurers, who blow about 14 percent on administration."

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