The point of the American Dream was to achieve a fulfilling life, yet in 2011, 50 million Americans, mostly made up of the poor, children, and the elderly, had to use food stamps in order to survive (Corning 1). In other words, it is not a satisfying lifestyle. To begin with, most people would say the original definition of the American Dream would come from the novel, The Epic of America, by James Truslow Adams, “a better, richer, happier life for all of our citizens of every rank” (Corning 1).
Throughout history, the American Dream has been a chance to obtain a happy and comfortable life, but today, the American Dream has been reduced to a mere fantasy. Unfortunately, the American Dream has slowly faded due to many factors. According to the Pew Research Center, in 1971, 61% of Americans were considered to be a part of the middle class. Today, the percentage has dropped rapidly to 51%, and within that, 35% are living off of $35,000 or less (Hartmann).
With this in mind, the middle class is slowly shrinking while the gap between social classes widen. Because the middle class makes up the majority of the population, it is obviously not good news when a lot of Americans are slowly slipping closer to the poverty line. if the majority of the population is not doing well, the country itself as a whole is not going to be stable either. In other words, it is not the American Dream. In addition to the middle class shrinkage, pessimism in America has risen, and the hope for the American Dream has fallen.
In the late 1990s and the early 2000s, Americans were optimistic about the dream because of America’s strong economy, even though their environment had not changed before and after America’s economic success. However, six years after the 2008 crash, Americans were still pessimistic about the possibility of permanent economic conditions (Bowman). With this in mind, the biggest part of the American Dream is being proud of it. On the contrary, it does not include the possibility of an economic disaster.
With that being said, even when an American’s life was not changed increasingly, the belief in optimism was enough to improve the quality of life. Although many Americans believe the American Dream is still alive, statistics have shown that the American Dream is more of an imagination than a logical goal. According to a study by The New York Times, American children have a very small likelihood of escaping the social and economic class they are born into (Hartmann).
To be made simple, America does not have the social mobility to reach their goals (Hartmann). Next, the AmericanDream states the ability for everyone to have an equal chance for a good life, but on the other hand, American children are most likely going to be rooted in the social class they were born into. That is fine for the people who were born into the middle class, but for others not doing as well, it is the formula for a disastrous future for their generations to come. Clearly, the American Dream says everyone can work for a good life, and being stuck in a social class without a choice is not a good life. Equally important in the American Dream is the ability to graduate college (Bowman).
However, the United States ranks close to the bottom in high school and college graduates (Corning). Americans cannot reach the American Dream without the ability to have a finished education. Because America ranks low in graduates, it does not give anyone much a chance to get a job, since many jobs require a degree. Without good jobs, Americans will be very close to the poverty line once more. Lastly, the costs of a home, car, and college tuitions have increased faster than one’s wages could ever catch up to (Bowman).
Even if one was accepted into a college, the debt they would get into would outweigh the money they could make within their timespan. overall, the cost of living is higher than most jobs can allow, and a person cannot just live off a job that statistically does not earn them enough money to live life, much less a good and comfortable life.
To this day, the American Dream is near death, and the remedy is nowhere in sight. To conclude, the American Dream is like a utopia. It seems like the perfect world, and in a way, it is, but the reality is that the American Dream is no longer obtainable. Because of that, Americans cannot be known as the place to go for a better life, when there is not a guarantee a person could get a chance for success. Sadly, the American Dream is dying faster than people can realize.