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A Thought About the New Politics and the American Dream

"The biggest impact of the new politics, however, will be felt by the new generation. Some of their attitudes are certainly congenial to the progressive positions in such areas as interracial and gay marriage, and a certain commitment to greater social justice. Yet they might find they, too, need a little “justice” themselves, since their incomes, adjusted for inflation, are actually lower than those of their counterparts in 2000, or even 1980. They may be better educated than their predecessors, but it’s not quite paying off.

"Take, for example, that more millennials are living with their parents than in predecessor generations. Many also are burdened with enormous student debt, which makes moving forward, for example, by starting a business or buying a house, more difficult. Most disturbingly, pessimism about the future is greatest among the youngest millennials, those still in high school.

"This decline in prospects – as evidenced by consistently weak income and growth numbers – could, ultimately, reshape politics. Millennials may have different social attitudes than their parents, but that doesn’t mean they reject their parents’ aspirational dream, most notably to buy a house, preferably with some decent space. Although they have been far less able to achieve homeownership, surveys consistently show that most millennials want to own a house, get more space and seem increasingly willing to move to the suburbs, even the exurbs, to get it."

~ Joel Kotkin, R.C. Hobbs Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and executive director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism

Source: His column, "Obama, the Left downsizing the American Dream, posted at the Orange County Register.

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