This is one of the most powerful articles I have read in a long time.
Robert Putnam describes life in his home town of Port Clinton, Ohio, population 6,059, as he was growing up in the 50s.

Port Clinton was “ a passable embodiment of the American dream, a place that offered decent opportunity for the children of bankers and factory workers alike.”

But today, “wealthy kids park BMW convertibles in the Port Clinton High School lot next to decrepit “junkers” in which homeless classmates live. The American dream has morphed into a split-screen American nightmare. And the story of this small town, and the divergent destinies of its children, turns out to be sadly representative of America.

“Growing up, almost all my classmates lived with two parents in homes their parents owned and in neighborhoods where everyone knew everyone else’s first name. Some dads worked in the local auto-part factories or gypsum mines, while others, like my dad, were small businessmen. In that era of strong unions and full employment, few families experienced joblessness or serious economic insecurity. Very few P.C.H.S. students came from wealthy backgrounds, and those few made every effort to hide that fact.”

Putnam and his generation grew up in a healthy society, where opportunity was widely available and many did well in life. Nearly three-quarters got more education than their parents and succeeded economically as well.

But then manufacturing collapsed; jobs were outsourced. The social fabric of the community wore thin
The social impact of those economic hammer blows was initially cushioned by the family and community bonds that had been so strong in my youth. But as successive graduating P.C.H.S. classes entered an ever worsening local economy, the social fabric of the 1950s and 1960s was gradually shredded. Juvenile-delinquency rates began to skyrocket in the 1980s and were triple the national average by 2010. Not surprisingly, given falling wages and loosening norms, single-parent households in Ottawa County doubled from 10 percent in 1970 to 20 percent in 2010, while the divorce rate more than quadrupled. In Port Clinton itself, the epicenter of the local economic collapse in the 1980s, the rate of births out of wedlock quadrupled between 1978 and 1990, topping out at about 40 percent, nearly twice the race-adjusted national average (itself rising rapidly).

“Unlike working-class kids in the class of 1959, many of their counterparts in Port Clinton today are, despite toil and talent, locked into troubled, even hopeless lives.”

What is happening to our country?

Why are the bankers and the major corporations blaming teachers and public schools for problems they not only created but benefit from?

Why do they think that adoption of the Common Core standards or the privatization of public schools will heal the deep economic and social problems caused by the outsourcing of our manufacturing base and deep income inequality?

How many shell games will Americans fall for?