September 24, 2012
I HAVE A DREAM! (NAH, NEVERMIND): Robert Samuelson’s latest column at the Washington Post asserts that the American Dream is dead. Samuelson correctly points out that low-income children are likely to graduate high school (if at all) with very low grade point averages, poor standardized test scores and other disadvantages such as parents who have served time. He then concludes,
“Government has only limited power to offset these disadvantages. The appeal of the American Dream is that it’s disconnected from nasty facts and choices. It’s a slogan that shouldn’t survive — but will endure precisely because it’s an exercise in make-believe.”
Samuelson is right about government having limited power to correct these facts. But here’s where Samuelson is wrong: The American Dream is an “exercise in make-believe” only for those who do not believe and work hard to take advantage of its abundant opportunity. President Barack Obama is a shining example of this– the supposedly low income, son of an immigrant, mixed race boy grows up to be President of the United States. A Horatio Alger story if there ever was one, but far from the last.