My grandfather worked for decades in a shovel factory.
After he returned home from World War II, he took a factory job to provide for his family. He toiled for years and left each of his loved ones a gift of $900 when he died.
Two generations later, I graduated from both Harvard University and Wharton School of Business with my MBA through the help of the GI bill, student loans and scholarships. From working in a shovel factory to earning Ivy League degrees within two generations: that is the American Dream.
Like every other generation in this country, I grew up believing that we could surpass the success of our parents through hard work and honest stewardship.
But for the first time ever, my generation and future generations are seriously asking, "is the American Dream even possible any more?"
My two children are young. Theodore just turned two in August and Seraphina is 11-months-old. With our sluggish economy, mounds of debt and endless tax increases, will my children have a chance at the American Dream?
My wife, Hope, and I aren’t the only ones with this fear. I see it echoed in the concerns of most parents and grandparents that I've encountered along the campaign trail. Between the skyrocketing cost of education and health care, sluggish housing market, rising cost of living and an unsustainable government entitlement spending, we have to doubt the future of a thriving middle class.
The American Dream is under attack. It might not be for you or your spouse, but it certainly is for the recent college graduate facing 50% unemployment or the small business owner who faces the choice between investing in his or her company or providing decent benefits for employees.
It might not be deliberate, but Joe Kennedy is behind the attack on the American Dream.
Throughout his campaign, Joe Kennedy has spoken many empty platitudes of "fairness," promises to "work hard" and pledges to "give everyone a decent shot," but what do they actually mean? How on earth does Joe Kennedy have the audacity to say with a straight face that he understands and wants to "make it fair for you and me?"
Joe Kennedy is an example of the wealthy elite knowing better than you. From prep school to Stanford University to Harvard Law School, he never worried about earning high enough scores to keep his scholarship or working enough hours in order to pay for textbooks.
It must be nice to afford that.
Does Joe know what it’s like to spend $100 a month on diapers for two kids and or stand in line at the grocery store and realize that milk is now $4 a gallon? Has he ever driven around the neighborhood looking for the cheapest gas? The last time I tanked up this week, it cost $80 to fill up my Chrysler mini-van.
These are the problems of the middle class. Hope and I have first-hand knowledge of those problems because we are middle class and grew up in middle class families.
Is it "fair" to support raising the price of gasoline as Joe suggested? Is it "fair" to increase payroll taxes by over $6,600 a year on middle class families, as Joe suggested? Is it "fair" to cut $700 billion from Medicare, which Joe has repeatedly supported? Here are the facts: Joe's policies would force low-income and middle class families to bear the cost, while wealthy urbanites like himself can afford to pay for higher gas prices and more taxes.
It is easy to have illusions of "fairness” like Joe Kennedy if you have never worked a day in your life. To be fair, Joe has worked. He's put in a total of 2 and a half years into the workforce.
True fairness is giving every person in this country the same opportunities to achieve the American Dream. Every person deserves the right to work hard and experience success.
They don't deserve to be unfairly taxed because wealthy elites like Joe Kennedy think that they know how to manage your money better than you.
For people like Hope and I, we have experienced the American Dream and are fiercely fighting to protect it for our children. We know that the empty rhetoric won't solve America’s problems and won't help the middle class.
The answer to protecting the American Dream is to roll back government regulations and taxes on small businesses so that they can create jobs.
The answer is to invest in our own natural resources for energy to keep prices low and lessen our dependence on foreign oil.
The answer is to protect Medicare while working on a bipartisan basis to ensure that it's still in place for the next generation.
The answer to saving the American Dream is sending a person to Washington who has worked to achieve it.
We need someone with experience in the private sector. Someone who has made hiring decisions and met a bottom line. We need someone who has experienced what it is like to implement a regulation from Washington and filed a tax return.
That's why I’m asking for your vote this November. As a middle class American like you, I understand these problems and issues because they are my reality.
When you go to the polls on November 6, I'm asking you and other voters to hire me for the U.S. Congress.