What happened to the American Dream?

Just as man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without hope. If dreams reflect the past, hope summons the future.
— Elie Wiesel 1986 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (September 30, 1928 - July 2, 2016)

What is the American Dream?

The American Dream is the opportunity for a good job so if I work hard, I can take care of myself and my family, save for the future, and leave something for my kids. I want to give them some of the advantages I didn’t have growing up so they will have fewer of the “playing without a net” scary times that I overcome. I want the peace of mind of knowing I can take care of myself when I can no longer work.



Local governments compete with each other to “attract high paying jobs.” Our tax dollars are given to companies, lowering or even paying overhead. It makes the rich richer increasing income disparity.

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The Cause is not the cure

Income disparity puts the dream of home ownership farther out of reach. It has recreated the working class, worsened poverty and is causing our housing crisis.

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The American Dream Died.

We can revive it.


It’s Nonprofit investment

Let’s invest in historic property as a nonprofit to benefit current neighbors so they can curb their own gentrification. If we combine it with economic development, we’ll target the area of most need, reduce the need for services and close the gap instead of making it worse.

He who is talented in leadership holds the world’s dream in his grip.
— Hugh Leon McColl, Jr., Former Chairman and CEO Bank of America

The Middle

Left and right use financial terms. Trickle-down in the private sector is profit that occurs when people compete and find a willing buyer and seller. It did not work as public policy. Creating profit for a few at taxpayer expense leads to income disparity and favors those who have wealth. In the nonprofit sector, it deters collaboration.

Charlotte’s Task Force (LeadingOnOpportunity.org) discusses social and political capital at length. It was created without the other terms in an economy. Most of all it was created without an understanding of the model used to rationalize economic development tax incentives in the private sector. This was not malice or incompetence. One must understand the data to understand how this evolved in Charlotte. The study and task force focused on getting out of poverty but it missed the cause of poverty. The following page “We Agree” explains this gap in the Opportunity Task Force Report and the source data at www.OpportunityInsights.org.

To understand the Middle in our country why we aren’t being represented, we mush understand the distinction between the natural trickle-down that occurs as we pursue the American Dream fairly and the political “free lunch” trickle-down which is killing the American Dream. A Rosetta Stone, the translation between the left and right, the public sector and private sector of our economy can be found here.

If we begin BuyingItBack, we’ll make the most economically fragile in Charlotte less sensitive to a recession. Our neighbors in most need will require fewer services in a recession. We all win.

Together we can correct our City’s legacy from redlining. Charlotte’s the city that banking build.