The original American dream as it was coined in 1931 was our American dream. It wasn't my American dream, but like these other terms, it's morphed. Maybe it was a media amplification, or was politicians talking like Hoover talking about rugged individualism. It was like that kind of amplification in the wrong direction. But whatever the case may be, it has become this very punishing, siloed, individualistic thing, the American dream, something that you strive for getting those two cars in that house, and you know that paycheck that's higher than your neighbors. And blaming people who haven't gotten those things.
Alissa Quart joins This is Hell! to discuss her new book, Bootstrapped: Liberating Ourselves from the American Dream. Alissa Quart is a journalist and executive director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.