If you ask John Hope Bryant, the American Dream is far from dead.
Bryant is the founder of Operation HOPE, a nonprofit offering financial literacy education to under-served communities.
If given the right tools and inspiration, the poor can lift themselves into the middle class, he argues, and they can "save capitalism" as well.
In his latest book, "How the Poor Can Save Capitalism," Bryant advocates for federally funded financial literacy education from kindergarten through college and Private sector tax breaks to create more business internships for young people.
Bryant's catchphrases to describe America's poor and middle class:
- • "Half of poverty is low self esteem."
- • "If you don't know who you are in the morning, by dinnertime, someone's gonna tell you."
- • "If I give a homeless guy a million dollars because I feel sorry for him, he'll be broke in six months."
- • "We really need... a focus on ph-Dos, not just ph-Ds."
- • "Policy makers, all the way down, never got a memo on what I call the language of money. ... America has never gotten the memo. Who got the memo? The wealthy."
- • "Rich folks need poor folks to do better if only for the rich folks to stay rich."
- • "Everyone needs to have their oar in the water and rowing in the same direction."
- • "Capitalism is not evil, it's the perversion of capitalism. Money is not evil, it's the love of money."
- • "It's not about black, white, red or yellow. It's about green. As in U.S. currency."