What is the American Dream? I’ve heard it as the “land of opportunity” but I am unsure of what America is really called today. The American dream is to have the freedom, the opportunities to be independent and financial success. In today’s society due to the reduction of opportunities given to Americans it is difficult to move up the economic ladder to attain a person’s dream. Of course, many will probably disagree with this assertion that the American dream is unattainable.
On the other hand, if we all don’t have equal opportunities than everyone’s perception is misled. If Americans don’t have money we feel we can’t accomplish things in our lives.
Equal opportunities is said to be that no matter where he or she comes from or who he or she is will be given the freedom and opportunity to obtain anything. It is stated in our Constitution that “all men are created equal.
” Needless to say, not all people are treated equally due to their race, background, gender, or religion. Many people in today’s society are trying to find better jobs. Our current economy is like a see-saw. Previously, people could get jobs by working hard and having happiness by working their way up to a better paying position. When my older sister was in high school twenty four years ago she worked at Hardee’s. She began working as a regular employee with basic wages. Quickly, due to her diligent work, rarely calling in, and commitment she was able to move up to a higher wage. Within a year or so, she was already at a manager position where she remained there until the end of high school. It isn’t quite simple today.
Due to our economic status in America, many people are finding it difficult to find a job that will pay better than minimum wage. For many Americans, like myself, if we don’t have a four-year degree than we will continue to only receive a minimum wage job. I am a non-traditional student going back to school trying to earn a high paying job. Many jobs are being outsourced so that they don’t have to provide benefits and can pay their employees lower wages. Therefore these are the jobs that many Americans are left to choose from. Per The Economist, “firms profits have soared, wages for the typical worker have barely budged” (317). Americans don’t have a chance with having a degree to get them a higher paying job.
With this in mind, how are we supposed to attain anything let alone the poor? America is going back in history to the Gilded Age, which means we have a slew of Americans that are in poverty and who are wealthy but only a little group of middle class. When it comes to the topic of poverty, most of us will readily agree that these Americans can only blame their selves for their mistakes. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of should other working employees have to help the poor. Whereas some are convinced that we shouldn’t, others maintain that everyone should be given an opportunity to improve their mistakes. My assertion is that there aren’t as many opportunities for people who are considered poor. Many of them have minimal skills, can’t afford a car to give them reliable transportation, or credibility.
Once again, our opportunities are slim. Opportunities for the lower-class families are even lower to what the middle-class families would get. I believe it is much harder for someone to obtain an education from a low-income family and/or poor family. Sklar is surely right about “America has thirty seven million people below the poverty line according to the Census Bureau” because my experience from seeing our economy drop due to educational and career opportunities (310).
People who are relatively older may not have had to attend college to have their current position at work. These people were able to usually work at these jobs when they were a teenager in high school or in their early twenties. Upon graduating high school, they were able to get a factory job or another job within their company and slowly begin to move up. In today’s world you pretty much need a bachelor’s degree in order to sustain ahead of yourself. Nowadays, if we want to have a decent job with decent pay, he or she needs to attend college to attain a degree. There are many reasons why it is difficult to attend college. The most difficult reason is the “declining financial aid support and skyrocketing tuition” (Draut 380).
It is extremely hard for someone to be able to afford college whose family is poor or for someone who is only making minimum wage. For these people, financial support may not help them as much as they thought. For instance, like me, it is difficult to find a job that will pay enough in order for me to afford my tuition. Draut states that “colleges have shifted their aid dollars toward merit-based awards, rather than need-based” (382). Those who actually want to attend college but can’t get financial help are without that opportunity. It doesn’t matter how good of grades you had or test scores. Once again that “American dream” goes out the door if you can’t afford college.
The reduction of opportunities for Americans is quite scary. Its nerve racking to know that the “median household income fell for the fifth year in a row to $44,389” according to Sklar (310). Looking at this fact, I don’t believe Americans can have the dream of owning a home, career, and paying off their tuition. Like I mentioned before, many people aren’t able to sustain a dependable job in order to have the necessities of life. This is something that America should be concerned about. America’s ticket of dreaming big with success is actually hurting us all. “Millions of middle-class families buy houses they can’t really afford, taking on more mortgage debt than they can safely handle” (Krugman 324-325). It is tricky to be able to afford college to get a higher paying job to be able to afford a home. But in the end, we all want the best rather if we can actually afford it or not.
So in the end, I still believe the American dream is not attainable due to decreasing opportunities. Once again, I ask myself, what is the American dream? Americans do believe its achieving success and owning a home. However, there are too many inequalities in our society to be able to attain the American dream.