My parents came to the United States in 1956. The country they found was truly a land of opportunity, where hardworking people with grade school educations could afford a home, a car, and college for their kids. A country where maids and bartenders could raise doctors, lawyers, small-business owners, and maybe even a U.S. senator.
That was the American Dream—our country’s central promise to its people: If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll find tremendous opportunities and an even better life for your children.
Yet today, I look around and see the American Dream on life support. Seven years of government-centered, tax-and-spend liberalism have failed to lift the poor or sustain the middle class. Fewer Americans are working than at any time since Jimmy Carter was president. New business creation is 30 percent lower than it was in the 1980s. The stock market may be surging by the time you read this, but millions of everyday Americans will still be left behind by an economy that doesn’t value their skills and a government that would rather give a handout than a hand up.
I wrote this book because we stand at a critical juncture. What kind of country are we going to be? Will we surrender to Obamacare and other laws that crush innovation and entrepreneurship? Will we accept a powerful nanny state and the erosion of family values? Will we allow politics to kill the American Dream?
Or will we rise to the challenge—and take back our legacy as the only nation on earth that offers unrestricted opportunity to all?
I believe we can restore the American Dream and expand it to reach more people than ever before. But to do so we must restrain our power-hungry, debt-ridden federal government. We must help businesses create more stable middle-class jobs. And we must help our families stay healthy and secure.
In this book you’ll meet an over-regulated small-businessman, a struggling single mother, an out-of-work and in-debt college graduate, and others who want nothing more than their own shot at the American Dream. Their stories are our stories; their challenges are our challenges.
Of course no book or politician can single-handedly restore the American Dream. But a movement, working to promote the values and can-do spirit that made our country exceptional, can turn everything around.
My goal is to provide a roadmap for that movement and inspire Americans to reclaim their rights: to dream, to work, to build a better life for their children.
I hope you will join me as we build that movement and restore the land of opportunity.