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Are You Losing Faith in the American Dream?

Posted By Tamara Lytle On January 10, 2013 @ 6:07 pm In Washington Watch | Comments Disabled

When it comes to the question of young people having a better life than their parents, older Americans are short on confidence in the American dream.

[1]Just 49 percent of American adults think that today’s youth are likely to have a better life than their parents, down from 66 percent in 2008, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll [2]. And only 45 percent of Americans 55 and older believe that life will be better for today’s youth.

Susan MacManus, a political scientist who studies older voters, says that older Americans see younger people with too much personal debt and a government with too much public debt. “Older folks are closer to understanding what debt means in a person’s life,” she says. “They see personal debt as a huge deterrent to the kind of lifestyle they had.”

For a more upbeat outlook, try looking to those young people themselves. Fifty-seven percent of 18- to 34-year-olds believe they’ll do better than their parents.

Part of that, as MacManus sees it, is the optimism of youth. But the younger generation, she says, also has a stronger belief that the government will be able to iron out the nation’s problems.


Photo: Library of Congress/Jack Delano

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[1] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2178252441_07b6ccaac2_o.jpg

[2] new USA Today/Gallup poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/159737/americans-divided-outlook-next-generation.aspx

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