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The American Dream lives
You wouldn't know the American Dream is alive and well through the narrow lens of the media. That’s the message I shared with students at the University of Houston last week. They were eager to hear some reassurance of their ability to achieve their dreams, and to have a discussion of some of the challenges they would face.
Before I discussed the challenges, I shared my experiences of what it takes to achieve one's dreams. Namely, have a dream that's your dream, and not somebody else's. Expect zig zags, speed bumps, and potholes along the way. And don't be afraid to change your dreams if you need to change course. The key is to make sure it's something you are passionate about.
I describe the challenges as headwinds in today's tumultuous environment. They include political bitterness like I have never seen before.
There was a time when members of Congress from opposite political parties would frequently dine together to discuss and debate differences of opinions. Now, the elected Democrat leaders will not even show up for a meeting with the president and Republican congressional leaders, because they really are not interested in finding solutions to problems to help the people.
The narrow lens of the media (headwind) has become a destructive force to the minds of millions of citizens. They are being inundated with stories about all the bad things happening in our society, and isolated violent incidents that do not define us. We are defined by the people and communities around us, where we work, learn and play.
Sluggish economic growth (headwind) of around 2 percent of GDP for eight years under the previous administration did not create a plethora of new opportunities for new college graduates. The good news (tail wind) is that we are on a trajectory to grow the economy at 4 percent annually or better.
This optimism is being reflected in the stock market, corporate earnings, the unemployment rate, new jobs and a host of other economic fundamentals, which suggest we are just getting started.
An optimistic positive tone from the White House (tail wind) is also a motivating factor for businesses, workers and prospective new workers. Optimism is that secret ingredient to success that never expires.
When I spoke to the students last Thursday night, a Senate-passed tax plan was a possible tail wind. As of this writing, it is a reality! The Senate passed it early Saturday morning! It now goes to conference committee to resolve differences between the Senate version and the House version. I'm optimistic they will get it done, and to the president for his signature.
In 1993, the Democrat-controlled Congress gave us the biggest tax increase in American history. We could be on the verge of the biggest tax cut in American history. There could be no greater economic tailwind for those students, for all students and for the next generation than the plan now advanced by the Senate.
The American Dream lives!
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