American Dreams: Then And Now

The "American Dream" is a key thread in this country's tapestry, woven through politics, music and culture. Though the phrase means different things to different people, it suggests an implicit contract that if you work hard, you'll move ahead. But as the effects of the economic downturn continues to reverberate, where is the American Dream today?

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2:22pm

Tue May 29, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

On The Economic Ladder, Rungs Move Further Apart

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 6:45 pm

Kevin Hill, a San Diego landscape designer, was doing well financially before the downturn. Now, he says he feels "lost."
John Ydstie NPR

America is the land of opportunity — that's the bedrock of the American dream. Many expect each generation to do better than the last.

That dream of economic mobility is alive and well for Pam Krank and her husband, Brian McGee. The two are proud owners of The Credit Department Inc., a successful business in the Minneapolis suburb of Mendota Heights.

"Mostly manufacturing companies around the world will hire us to study their customers and tell them how much ... unsecured credit they should grant to each customer," Krank explains.

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1:02am

Tue May 29, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 2:34 am

The American Dream has long evoked the idea that the next generation will have a better life than the previous one. Today, many Americans feel that dream is in jeopardy.
H. Armstron Roberts CORBIS

The American Dream is a crucial thread in this country's tapestry, woven through politics, music and culture.

Though the phrase has different meanings to different people, it suggests an underlying belief that hard work pays off and that the next generation will have a better life than the previous generation.

But three years after the worst recession in almost a century, the American Dream now feels in jeopardy to many.

The town of Lorain, Ohio, used to embody this dream. It was a place where you could get a good job, raise a family and comfortably retire.

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6:18am

Sun May 27, 2012
Around the Nation

Reporting The American Dream

Originally published on Sun May 27, 2012 6:55 am

Throughout the summer, NPR News will look at the history, culture and current state of the American Dream. NPR's Ari Shapiro and John Ydstie join host Rachel Martin to take a political and economic look at the ultimate American aspiration.

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