In the News | Horatio Alger, and Country Knolls, New York

October 2, 2012

Front and Center

As we get closer to the October 22 debut of Front & Center's newest series, American Dream Deferred?, we will be gathering the week's top stories about the journey up and down the economic ladder.

We will also feature interpretations of the American Dream from artists, photographers, and musicians.

To start things off, here's Charles "Screaming Eagle" Bradley and Why Is It So Hard?.

Now, the latest news and analysis about The American Dream, starting with the way that income inequality is affecting our focus group: young Americans: 

National Journal: Horatio Alger, RIP

"College has become the golden ticket off [the] hamster wheel. But this, too, has widened the demographic gap in upward mobility. Lower-income children typically struggle to keep up in school, falling well behind wealthier children on K-12 test scores, which hurts their chances of getting into college and earning a diploma. A student with high scores on eighth-grade standardized tests but whose family is poor (in the lowest-income quartile) had only a 29 percent chance of finishing college, the EPI study found. That was a lower chance than a student from the top of the income ladder with low test scores. In other words, a dumb, rich kid is more likely to get a college diploma than a smart, poor kid."

Atlantic: U.S. Income Inequality: It's Worse Today Than It Was in 1774

“The conclusion comes to us from an newly updated study by professors Peter Lindert of the University of California - Davis and Jeffrey Williamson of Harvard (University.) Scraping together data from an array of historical resources, the duo have written a fascinating exploration of early American incomes, arguing that, on the eve of the Revolutionary War, wealth was distributed more evenly across the 13 colonies than anywhere else in the world that we have record of.”

WNYC: Tour the Most Equal Community in America: Country Knolls, New York

"In a time when the concern about growing income inequality has found outlets in the Occupy Wall Street protests and made its way onto the presidential campaign trail, this community doesn’t have to worry about the wage gap between its residents. The median income here is a comfortable $107,000 a year, according to analysis by U.S. Census Bureau."

Forbes: The iPhone 5 Test, And What it Tells Us About the American Dream

"We as a nation are more indebted than we have ever been in the past – individually, and collectively. And it is not just because of the bail-outs of the financial, and auto sectors, or the “stimulus” money spent in 2008-09. We are addicted to a system that favors borrowing and spending, on easy credit, to drive economic growth. And that’s fine, so long as you make sure you can service both the principal and the interest payments that are inevitable." 

NPR: It Could Be Worse (Unemployment Edition)

"The recession was unlike any other during the post-war period — an era notably free of financial crises in the U.S.. And when you compare the current jobs picture with what happened during and after other financial crises around the world, it looks, if not good, then at least less bad."

New York Times: Intangible Dividend of Antipoverty Effort: Happiness

"Researchers said that though they did not know why people felt happier after moving, it probably had to do with feeling safer and less stressed. Nearly three-quarters of the families who signed up for the program said they had done so to get away from violence in dangerous neighborhoods... Moving to a neighborhood that was less poor caused families that were making $20,000 a year to feel as happy as families making $33,000 a year, Professor Ludwig said."