Original poster: I don't think (having worked in the hosting business for many years) that it's reasonable to expect a more immediate response from tech support at any web hosting company at this price point, unless your concern is extremely urgent and likely affects other customers. Think about how much an average person in this field ought to make an hour and you can easily extrapolate from that how much it costs Dreamhost to process your request. Compare that to the amount of money you pay them, and you'll quickly see that it's not financially feasible to put more people on support.
If you require this level of support, I would advise that you switch to a dedicated server provider, such as Rackspace, which offers "Fanatical Support"(tm).
I suggest posting your concern here, in the forums, and you are more likely to get a quick response from the community. There are also other very active web hosting forums on the Internet, such as http://webhostingtalk.com, which is frequented by hosting hot-shots, techies, and consumers alike.