The American dream is dying; only cultural renewal can fix that

The American dream is dying; only cultural renewal can fix that

I thought of Tim (not his real name) yesterday, when I read the first of three disturbing reports about the slow death of the American dream. If you were born in 1940, there was a 92 percent chance you’d do better than your parents. That number has declined every decade since — from 79 percent for those born in 1950, to 62 percent in 1960, 61 percent in 1970, to a low of 50 percent for those born in 1980. Even worse, younger people who do better than their parents are highly concentrated in the upper-middle class. Those born outside of the top-30th income percentile were likely to make less than their parents…

As I was reading and digesting this information, I saw the news that American life expectancy has decreased for the first time in decades. The decline is due to increases in deaths from multiple causes, including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and suicide. And hidden within the statistics is the third disturbing report, a rise in fatal heroin overdoses so dramatic that heroin deaths have for the first time surpassed gun homicides…

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