By some important measures, the economy is booming. The unemployment rate is at a record low, the number of new jobs that have been created is at a record high, and the stock market remains strong. But don’t try to convince the millions of Americans up against the financial ropes how good things are. They’ve formed very rigid opinions about this, not by studying statistics or analyzing charts, but from their real-life experiences. And optimistic is the last thing they’re feeling.

Driving a cab is high-pressure work. Then why does anyone do it? One driver gave this answer: “I leave every morning with empty pockets and come back with a wallet full of money.” Others expressed a similar sentiment. After driving a taxi for a few years, people from all kinds of backgrounds were able to save enough to make a down payment on a house or to start a small business. Either way, they enjoyed a taste of the American dream.

Page 1 of 2