In the News: Life in poverty, and a stolen American Dream

October 9, 2012

Front and Center

The launch of Front & Center's latest series, American Dream Deferred? is only two weeks away. On October 22, expect the first stories in our series looking how young people are moving up and down the economic ladder in the Great Lakes region. 

The immigrant experience will be profiled in our series. In a few weeks, you'll follow one young man who says he, like many others fleeing low wages and bad working environments in their native countries, are finding it hard to make it in America.  

His experience is much like Marisol's, who is highlighted in our featured artistic interpretations of the American Dream this week. Photographer Janet Jarman has spent the past 15 years documenting the life of Marisol, one young woman who journeyed from Mexico to the United States in hopes of better life.

View the full slideshow here.


Meanwhile, Front & Center continues its weekly roundup of the latest news about the pursuit of the American Dream.

“Criswell works full time, with no benefits, and she hasn't had a raise in three years. After taxes, she brings home $1,030 a month – enough, if she's careful, to meet her expenses, with little wiggle room. "What I feel," she says, "is anxiety. I felt it just this morning. It's constantly in the back of my mind: 'Am I going to have enough to pay the bills?' "
The American Conservative: Some Inequalities Are More Unequal Than Others
"Whether it is the result of deregulation or of continued government interventions (and I think it’s some of both), financialization has pervasively distorted incentives across the American economy. We need to tackle that problem directly, and not treat the financial sector as a cash cow that will either miraculously (if you’re a Republican) or through redistributive taxation (if you’re a Democrat) feed the rest of the economy." 

Huffington Post: Getting Left Behind
"The shrinking of college opportunity is occurring for two reasons. First, continuing budget woes have forced governments and public colleges and universities to prioritize. The winners are students who are better prepared for college and thus more likely to graduate. Second, the Gates Foundation and others have been aggressively pushing a college-completion agenda. State and community colleges, urged to graduate more students with less money, effectively deny the weakest students access to a postsecondary education. As Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert, put it: "One of the easiest ways to increase graduation rates is to exclude high-risk students."

New York Times: Health Care as Income for the Poor
"The new definition of income removes many seniors from the poorest group of Americans, as they are big consumers of Medicare. And it pushes more working families to the bottom of the income scale."

PBS: The Seismic Economic and Political Changes that Transformed the American Dream
"For Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith, the American Dream depends upon the prosperity of middle class. Ray Suarez talks to Smith about his latest book, "Who Stole the American Dream?" for more on what needs to change to restore the American Dream, economically, politically and culturally."