Sunday, August 01, 2010

The End of the American Dream

Once a person could work hard, live frugally and end up the hero in a rags to riches story. Today, that American Dream is lost:
Alexis de Tocqueville, the great French chronicler of early America, was once misquoted as having said: “America is the best country in the world to be poor.” That is no longer the case. Nowadays in America, you have a smaller chance of swapping your lower income bracket for a higher one than in almost any other developed economy – even Britain on some measures. To invert the classic Horatio Alger stories, in today’s America if you are born in rags, you are likelier to stay in rags than in almost any corner of old Europe.

Combine those two deep-seated trends with a third – steeply rising inequality – and you get the slow-burning ­crisis of American capitalism.
The family featured in this article is the new American reality. No rally, no matter how big, on Wall Street is going to lift their boat. They're three weeks away from living on the street at any given moment. Sadly, theirs is what passes for a success story in middle class America today.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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