IS THE AMERICAN DREAM ATTAINABLE?
Perhaps the most trending debate is whether the American dream is attainable. It places emphasis on economic prosperity, financial security, and ambitions such as; pursuing a well-paying job, living a healthy and personally fulfilling life, and a being able to live a comfortable life after retirement. It is also about individuals having the ability to control and freedom to participate in achieving the dream.
For any possible national development, the participation of its citizens is paramount. Unfortunately, Millions of Americans are excluded from taking part in the American dream since class, gender, and race determines access to opportunities. Citizens believe that to achieve life goals; one has to work hard. However long and hard Americans work, they find themselves lagging behind. Americans don’t think working hard has a relationship with upward mobility.
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The development of a state depends on the nature of its economics. The economic security of America is at stake with infinite numbers of citizens from middle-class struggling to survive, and the wealthy families are experiencing dramatic gains. Income inequality has dramatically increased four decades, and this has elevated America to lead the developed countries as far as income inequality is concerned. It records the highest since the nineteenth century. As far as wealth accumulation is concerned, the patterns are skewed. Forty-two percent of the financial wealth currently belong to 1 percent of the population while less than one percent financial wealth belongs 60 percent of the citizens.
Concerning generational income trends, the Pew Charitable Trust uses absolute and relative mobility. Absolute mobility compares the well- being of adults with their parents when they were of their age. Sadly, only half of American adults today are wealthier than their parents. Relatively, there is stagnation in income classes. Forty percent of adults raised in the upper-class families have maintained that level. Also, a generation later, 43 percent of citizens raised in the bottom fifth of the income ladder have remained there. This trend shows that the lives of the lower class are not getting any better. The gap between the poor and the rich widens every other time. As of June 2015, America’s top 10 percent of income earners made nearly nine times as much as the bottom 90 percent. Only wealthy citizens can enroll their children in good schools because they can afford.
Education attainment is a crucial component of the American dream that plays a role especially in the lives of low income families. However, intent to attend some school after high school raises concern. Barriers such as; financial constraints, family instability, racial and ethnic discrimination, lack of college role models, and lack of preparation affect students. This situation is even worse for immigrants. For example, Somali students attempt to adapt to schools in the United States is influenced by social discrimination. Such students are only pessimistic about the American dream that was to bring prosperity to people from all walks of life.
The positive legacy of the American dream is the emphasis on hard work, the belief that change is possible, and the faith that modest beginnings will not dictate life trajectory. However, with the inequalities that exist, what was a dream will only remain a dream that will never give birth to reality. A dream that was universal has only remained to serve a few; a majority who belong to the upper rung. All that needs to be done is to implement free and fair laws that will provide everyone with an opportunity to pursue the dream. Barriers to upward mobility have to be dealt with if America is to achieve its goal.