Magazine May 3, 2010, Issue

Economic Opportunity in America

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There is less than commonly supposed, but it is parents, not redistributors, who hold the solution

With the exception of individual freedom, no public value is held in higher esteem by Americans than economic opportunity. A major theme of the American creed is that with discipline, hard work, and thrift, anyone can get ahead. That take on the American Dream is reflected in pieces of Americana ranging from the Horatio Alger stories to “They’re Coming to America” to Go West, Young Man, all of which speak to one of the most fundamental beliefs Americans have about our country: that it offers people a better chance to thrive than any other nation on earth.

But is it true?

Ron HaskinsMr. Haskins is a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution and a co-director of the Center on Children and Families.

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