The Four Bobs — and the Economic Importance of Self-Starters

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Have we forgotten those who embody an American ideal?


hen I thought of the American Dream as a high-school student in 1980s Indiana, I thought of a family friend named Bob. He was an independent manufacturers’ representative, supplying faucets and other hardware to hotel chains. He and his wife regularly invited my family to poolside cookouts at their home on several wooded acres, and hosted us every summer at their lake house in Michigan. Another family friend, also named Bob, owned an upscale men’s clothing store and often got us and his family together at their home at the end of a long lane. I learned in adulthood that

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