Washington Secrets

Poll: Dream of working hard and getting rich is dead

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

College graduates know it, and so do the millions of American workers "downsized" by the rotten economy over the past four years. And now there's a poll confirming the worse: the American dream of working hard to get a house in the suburbs ringed with a white picket fence is dead.

According to Rasmussen Reports, Americans now more than ever before believe that it is impossible to get rich simply by working hard. Some 59 percent, the highest since Rasmussen started polling on the issue, believe that it is no longer possible "for anyone in the country" to work hard and get rich.

The pollster called that the highest level of pessimism in over four years of surveying," and up from 55 percent in January. It jived with the view of recent college grads who told Secrets during an Inauguration conference in January that the materialistic American Dream was out of reach, so they were focused instead on bettering their community with volunteer work.

And it's not much better when it comes to the nation's confidence that the poor can get out of poverty. Nearly half of adults, 48 percent, think it possible for anyone to work their way out of poverty, but that's down from 53 percent in January. Thirty-nine percent disagree, up from 28 percent a month ago and also "the highest finding in regular surveys since January 2009," said Rasmussen.

And if all that isn't depressing enough, Rasmussen Reports that short-term confidence in the economy is at a new low. Only 25% think the economy will be stronger in a year's time.

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