As part of our series looking at economic mobility in America, Front & Center recently visited a rally in Milwaukee for President Barack Obama.
The President addressed a crowd of thousands. He spoke about helping working class families by raising taxes for the wealthy and maintaining more jobs in the United States. Mr. Obama said that "in this country, hard work should pay off." He added that "everyone should get a shot."
Supporters of Republican nominee Mitt Romney said the message was empty rhetoric and expressed concern about the number of young Americans who are unemployed.
We asked those in attendance what they thought of the American Dream, and whether it's attainable.
In other news about climbing the economic ladder.
"The United States is caught in a vicious cycle largely of its own making. Rising income inequality is breeding more inequality in educational opportunity, which results in greater inequality in educational attainment. That, in turn, undermines the intergenerational mobility upon which Americans have always prided themselves and perpetuates income inequality from generation to generation."
“There are signs that young adults have turned a corner,” said Mark Mather, associate vice president at the Population Reference Bureau. “More young adults are staying in school, which will increase their potential earnings when the job market bounces back. It’s going to take some time, but we should see more young adults entering the labor force, buying homes and starting families as economic conditions improve.”
“Growing up in poverty can have serious and long-lasting effects on children’s health, development, and overall well-being. The effects of poverty have a well-documented impact on young children’s developing brains. And children who grow up in poverty are more likely to experience harmful levels of stress, more likely to struggle in school, and more likely to have behavioral, social, and emotional problems than their peers.”
"At a recent jobs fair in Atlanta, Latasha Kelly, 22, said she was distressed by the hundreds of people who also came out. Ms. Kelly dropped out of college four years ago because she could not afford it. She has completed a city-sponsored job training program in customer service. If she is lucky, she says, she will find work at a store like Walmart."