English 1A, 3:30-4:40
3 February 2014
The American Dream: A Symbol of Success
It is thought that if you work for The American Dream, you will achieve it. However, the Dream is success, and success is measured by society. We live in a society that allows only a select group of people to be “successful”. Most people associate success with having a strong, loving family, a nice house, a fancy car, and at least one parent who has a steady job that can pay for everything and want for nothing. How can it be the “American Dream” if so few Americans succeed? There are many myths concerning the existence of this. Economic instability, the growing divergence of the classes, and the worst recession in recent history may contribute to the extinction of one of our nation’s longest held beliefs. In 2008, America found itself in her greatest recession since The Great Depression of the 1920s. Unemployment rates skyrocketed and the number of homeless people rose with it. Scott Clement, a journalist for the Washington Post, wrote an article in September of 2013 about how the American Dream is fading fast for some. Clement stated:
It’s increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Almost two-thirds of people express concerns about covering their family’s basic living expenses, compared with less than half the public four decades ago. One in three say their money worries are with them all or most of the time, and the number who say they worry “all the time” about paying the bills has doubled.
This quote would not have been viable thirty or forty years ago. Back then, most people were able to do as they wish, as far as jobs were concerned. In the year 1970, unemployment rate was down to a respectable 4.9%. The average income per household was over $9,000. Adjusted for inflation, the same family today would be making around $54,000. This means that most of America was living comfortably. They need not worry about bills, house payments, car payments, or anything else. They were, in effect, living the American Dream.
Jobs have been lost constantly over the past decade and a half. When the economy crashed, businesses laid off millions upon millions of workers in order to save their own skins and save as much money as possible. Few job openings, high business taxes, and a distinct lack of real growth all prevent a recovery for most of America.
Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of jobs out for grab. Most people are either too lazy to find them or think that these certain jobs are beneath them. Housekeepers, trash men, waiters/waitresses, bus boys, etc. are all positions that need to be filled. If people could swallow their pride and go out of their way to find these jobs, maybe they will stop complaining about having no income.
Most business owners will agree that laying off workers is a more viable long-term solution to raising profits. Less employees equals less of your income that goes towards something other than your company. Machines can usually do the same work as humans with identical outcomes. They require no payment aside from the usual maintenance checks and oil changes.
Employees usually do not appreciate when their jobs are taken by robots. If someone has worked there for 10 years is laid off, they would be outraged by their boss’s choice. They would feel betrayed. What are they going to tell their family? How will they bring home the proverbial bread? If, for example, they were working at an automotive plant, it could be safe to assume that they would have needed a degree in engineering. Years of their life…