There are many who argue the American dream is alive and well.
Attaining the American dream is a function of intelligence, capability, personal choice, work ethic, achievement, upbringing and luck. And it should come as no surprise that those born into wealth have a better chance than those born into poverty. But that is by no means the only or determining factor. It’s simply a headwind, no more, no less.
It's not easy, but it never has been.
If being born into privilege were everything, there would be no Apple, Starbucks, Walmart, Verizon, Oracle, WhatsApp or countless other great companies, all of which were built by entrepreneurs and executives who grew up with nothing but adversity, as I did. And nobody would know the names Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey or Ralph Lauren.
The American dream is still alive so long as America is still alive. Economic growth means there is still opportunity to be had for everyone. It becomes a matter of making sure everyone has a decent opportunity.
Americans are still worried about their future and how inequality will affect their children. Many more feel abandoned by the government.
While the American Dream of upward mobility and financial security is alive and well for the richest Americans, lower- and middle-income Americans have never felt less secure financially than they do now.
Downward mobility is now the new normal for most Americans. Upward mobility is now an almost insurmountable dream.
Many are worried about upward mobility for their children. It increasingly looks unlikely that the next generation will have the same opportunities as those today had.
But, for the first time, I’m no longer so sure my daughter will get there. Not because she’ll lack for intelligence or dedication or good fortune, but because she will be raised in an era of unprecedented entitlement. If it takes a village to raise a child, then her father’s voice will be drowned out by millions of naysayers.