The Downpayments on the American Dream Policy Demonstration (ADD) taught us a lot about Individual Development Accounts and how low-income families can save and build assets. More fundamentally and more generally, it taught us a lot about the American Dream, circa 2000, and how to achieve it. ADD taught us that the American Dream, the prospect of owning a home, building a business, pursuing higher education, saving for retirement or of otherwise securing a brighter economic future, is alive, if latent, among a wide variety of low-income and very poor families. In fact, the dream is so strong that families will go to great efforts to achieve it – working, saving, learning and investing – even if that means very real sacrifice. They save, they work more, they conserve, not because it is easy, but because it is the price of stability, the price of hope.
Friedman, R. (2005). Hope in concrete form: The downpayments on the American Dream Demonstration: Conception, contributions, challenges, and consequences (CSD Report No. 05-37). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.