An attitude problem

by Russ Roberts on January 30, 2009

in Politics

A  Zogby poll from this month found that 56% of the American people still "believe in the American Dream." Zogby is impressed that a majority still believes. What I found interesting were the reasons that disbelievers gave for their lack of faith:

44%: "The powers that be don't care about people like me."

29%: "Americans shouldn't think of themselves as special and entitled to an ideal life."

27%: "Where I live, it costs too much, and the American Dream is just out of reach."

14%: Not sure or other.

10%: "I am a pessimist."

8%: "I have been forced to take a lower-paying job."

7%: "I don't have enough education and can't afford to go back to school."

7%: "I recently lost my job and am out-of-work."

So the overwhelming reason for rejecting the American Dream is a lack of caring on the part of the powerful. I assume that if they thought the powerful people did care about them then they could believe in economic opportunity.

If that really captures their outlook, then my view and their view of how the world works is very different.


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