Fall 2011/The American Dream Special Issue

Fall 2011/The American Dream Special Issue

Dream deferred

After a lifetime of work, older Americans are now delaying retirement, going back into the workforce, and cashing in on their homes so they can make ends meet.

for ann jones, the clerk-teller’s position she landed at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in 1984 was her shot at the American Dream. Jones had worked a few jobs, gotten married, and had a son. But the Registry post offered her job security and the chance to buy a house, earn a pension, and retire(...)

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Out of reach

Out of reach

The housing bubble burst six years ago, but homeownership is even more elusive today for middle-class families in Massachusetts

Jeffrey Goldstein lived the American Dream growing up. His father joined the postwar exodus from the city, and got his own piece of land out in the suburbs. Like many families in the postwar real estate boom, Goldstein’s father was the first in his family to own a piece of the rock. For Goldstein’s father’s(...)

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Left behind

Left behind

A gender achievement gap has males lagging behind females at every level from elementary school to college graduation rates. In an economy where education is now the key to a good job, that doesn't just spell trouble for men. It's creating a steeper climb for families to reach the middle class

EACH SPRING, THE Boston Globe salutes the city’s valedictorians by publishing photographs of the top-achieving student in each of Boston’s 40 public high schools and describing their college plans. Many of the students come from lower-income families, and it’s hard not to be inspired by the persistence they had to demonstrate in the face of tough(...)

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A have and have-not world

A have and have-not world

Is it fair that 1 percent of the state's population pockets 22 percent of its income?

carol meyrowitz started her climb up the corporate ladder at Fram­ing­ham-based TJX Corp. in 1983. Today, nearly 30 years later, she runs a $22 billion retailing giant whose off-price strategy seems to work well in good—and bad —economic times. Over the last three years, despite the Great Reces­sion, the company’s sales have risen 10 percent,(...)

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Learning curve

Learning curve

Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz say the slowdown in education attainment has been driving the increases in income inequality among American workers

FOR MOST OF the 20th century, America truly was the land of opportunity. The nation emerged as the world’s dominant economic superpower, and the prosperity that resulted was widely shared. A growing middle class had every reason to believe in the promise of the American Dream in which each generation is poised to do better(...)

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The politics of extremism

The politics of extremism

Polarization is making the American Dream impossible to realize

was there ever a generation luckier than mine? Born in 1942, I have no memories of the horrors of World War II. But I have clear recollections of the way my parents, neither of whom had ever gone to college, lived the American Dream in the years after the war came to an end. My(...)

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A way out of gridlock

A way out of gridlock

A group of think tank scholars from across the political spectrum are finding common ground on the American Dream

with unemployment too high, economic growth too low, and the gap between the rich and poor widening, the American Dream is hurting. Adding to the gloom is the polarization in Wash­ington, where even a simple task like raising the country’s debt ceiling nearly led to economic cataclysm this summer. Yet the dream lives on for(...)

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The great squeeze

The great squeeze

Income inequality is the economic issue of our time—and the recession has only made a bad situation worse

Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures and What We Can do About It By Don PeckNew York, Random House, 224 pagesreviewed by Mark Erlich fifteen years ago , I borrowed a visual image from economist Bennett Harrison’s book Lean and Mean for a class I was teaching. Harrison divided the nation’s history(...)

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97.4

97.4

Massachusetts’s score on MassINC’s middle-class index shows only a slight drop since the start of the decade, but some of the data are ominous

the bay state economy expanded by more than 10 percent last decade—8 percent growth on a per capita basis after accounting for inflation. It’s not the Massachusetts Miracle, but given that we were nearing the peak of the tech boom in 2000, and in 2010 we were barely emerging from an even bigger bust, these(...)

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