Time Cover Story—What has Become of the American Dream?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Definitions of class are hard to come by β€” so much so that the U.S. Department of Commerce, on behalf of Vice President Joe Biden's White House Task Force on the Middle Class, emphasized descriptive language rather than statistics, finding that "middle-class families are defined by their aspirations more than their income. [We assume] that middle-class families aspire to homeownership, a car, college education for their children, health and retirement security and occasional family vacations."

The government's verdict: "It is more difficult now than in the past for many people to achieve middle-class status because prices for certain key goods β€” health care, college and housing β€” have gone up faster than income."
Median household income has also remained stagnant for more than a decade; when the figures are adjusted for inflation, Americans are making less now than they were when Bill Clinton was in the White House.

There, in brief, is the crisis of our time. The American Dream may be slipping away. We have overcome such challenges before. To recover the Dream requires knowing where it came from, how it lasted so long and why it matters so much.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHistoryMarriage & FamilyPsychology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal FinanceThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* TheologyEschatology

Posted June 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. jkc1945 wrote:

“. . . . the crisis of our time. The American Dream may be slipping away.”  What crass balderdash.  If this is “the dream” I am supposed to have, then who is it who has defined it for me?  My parents certainly knew little or nothing of all these “values” that define the middle class.  Yet they raised four of us kids, we never missed a meal, dad worked three jobs to make that happen, we all got an education, and we have all lived happy and fairly productive lives ourselves, with little or no thought about whether we ever measured up to someone else’s definition of ‘middle class.’  Maybe we just need to redefine what it is that makes us, us!!

June 25, 7:38 am | [comment link]
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