January 6, 2012 |
1. The American dream is about getting rich. In a national survey of more than 1,300 adults that we completed in March, only 6 percent of Americans ranked "wealth" as their first or second definition of the American dream. Forty-five percent named "a good life for my family," while 34 percent put "financial security" — material comfort that is not necessarily synonymous with Bill Gates-like riches — on top. While money may certainly be part of a good life, the American dream isn't just about dollars and cents.
September 23, 2012 |
It's time to retire the American Dream — or at least give it a long vacation. We ought to drop it from our national conversation. This would be a hardship for politicians and pundits, who use "the American Dream" as a rhetorical workhorse embodying goals embraced by almost all Americans. That's the problem. The American Dream has become so expansive in its meaning that it stifles honest debate and harms some of the very people it is intended to help. Who can oppose the American Dream?
September 27, 2011 |
The modern American dream has always been a simple promise of opportunity: Hard work can earn a good life, a good job with decent pay and security, a secure retirement, and an affordable education for the kids. The promise always exceeded the performance — especially with regard to racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and women. But a broad middle class and a broadly shared prosperity at least provided the possibility of a way up. Today, every element of the dream is imperiled.
October 27, 2012 |
Saving the middle class has become a battle cry in the 2012 presidential campaign — and it's no wonder. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, the percentage of Americans considered middle class has dwindled to 51 percent from 61 percent in 1971. But the Pew report does not explain the political and economic forces behind this decline. That's a task Hedrick Smith sets for himself in his new book, "Who Stole the American Dream?" Long before most reporters and social scientists took note,...
October 6, 2012 |
H e had always managed to find optimism in even the worst circumstances, and here was another chance: a heat advisory, 98 degrees and rising at 11 a.m., the hottest day of the year yet. "Thank you," said Frank Firetti, 54, as he walked out of his Manassas office into a blast of humidity in early June. "Thank you," he said again. "What a perfect day to sell a pool. " He opened the trunk of his 2004 Toyota compact and changed into his selling outfit of slacks, a yellow polo and...
October 9, 2012
Kudos to The Post's Eli Saslow for his " Life of a salesman " [front page, Oct. 7], an homage to Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" that depicted the professional and personal tribulations of Frank Firetti of Purcellville, who has gotten caught in the uncertainties of the economy's struggles. Mr. Saslow noted, "In a country built on optimism, Frank Firetti was the most optimistic character of all: the American salesman — if not the architect of the American dream, then at least its most time-honored promoter.