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To what extent is the following statement true: "America still provides access to the American Dream to the 'tired, the poor, and the huddled masses?'"

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Adam Worcester eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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That saying is more true theoretically than practically, these days. The chief caveat I would add is about the word "poor." The gap between rich people and poor people is widening in America, and the American Dream of home ownership is becoming unobtainable for even middle-class families. In San Francisco, for instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development defined "low-income" in 2018 as an individual making $82,200 or less. For the rest of the US, this threshold was $12,140.

Though the original poem about tired, poor, and huddled masses referred to immigrants, it could be applied as aptly today to "tired" workers and "huddled masses" of US residents. The traditional path to the American Dream—saving, investing, and borrowing—does not seem open to many of them. They can't save enough money to invest, because they have lost their jobs, are underemployed, or are young workers hampered by student-loan debt. Healthcare costs keep rising, interest rates are going up,...

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