Is the American Dream Dead These Days

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Throughout his 2010 article Is the American Dream Over?, Cal Thomas explains the American dream, what it means to people, and why he believes author Bob Herbert was wrong in saying it is dead. Thomas, who shows strong disagreement with Herbert’s stance that “standards of living are declining” and parents think their kids “will inherit a very bad deal”, clarifies that the real issue is that the original form of the dream still stands, but people do not see it because their view of it has been clouded with what they believe to be the modern aspirations they should have in place of it. He justifies the ways “self-reliance, individual initiative, and personal accountability” have lost their value, though they were originally considered necessary in the accomplishment of the American dream. The initial dream was filled with aspirations of completing higher education, living healthily, having a happy family life, saving up for one’s elderly years to be comfortable, and living free of dishonesty. However, Thomas believes that thanks to over-doing issues like taxes, spending, and government regulations, we have been left with a situation where we are no longer excelling in any of those areas and this can only be fixed once we take a better path.

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In Brandon King’s 2011 essay The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold? he seeks to figure out the current state of it. He believes that, although we are faced with discouraging statistics that might make people think it has died, it is in difficult times that the American dream is more alive than ever and that it is even a crucial solution to overcoming the recession. His redefinition of the dream is that, rather than constantly shooting for riches, many just wish to secure a stable future first. The numbers sided with King, showing more than seventy percent of Americans continue to believe that it is possible to achieve the dream through hard work and that he was correct in his assumption that the dream did not die, it was simply replaced with a more realistic, attainable version of itself. People no longer wish to set themselves up to unrealistic standards to feel like they have achieved something. King shows disagreement with columnist Bob Herbert’s outlook on taxing the rich, as he believes that if the rich continue to spend more money the economy will receive a stimulus to improve and grow. He also sides with Cal Thomas’ belief that if people believe in their opportunities to improve their lives, the American dream will stay undamaged and continue its expansion towards new generations.

The authors of both articles have multiple things in common, but the most highlighted ones are their belief that the American dream remains and their general disagreement with fellow writer Bob Herbert. The dream is indeed something that has not died and will probably remain until the end of time, but their disagreement with Herbert’s solutions on how to better the economy to improve the people’s attitude about it and strengthen belief in the American dream is simply lacking in logic. It cannot be disputed after being offered evidence by Thomas in the form of the analysis of the dream’s evolution and by King through numbers obtained from a New York Times survey, that the American dream truly lives on. However, their support for helping the upper class grow their riches is jarring considering their seeming backing of the everyday American’s dreams of rising. By not taxing the rich the country’s economic situation will not improve at all and people’s belief that the dream is slowly dying away along with our economy will only increase more and more. It is important to stimulate the markets by having those with more wealth spend their green, yes, but having the rich get consistently richer just serves to further expand the gap between them and the middle and lower classes, leaving the dreams of Americans that do not form part of the one percent in the dust and crushing their hopes for greater achievements. Just because more and more people just wish for financial stability doesn’t mean they should remain content once they reach it. 

In conclusion. America was always a place for people to dream big and chase the riches and opportunities they might have never been able to achieve elsewhere. Allowing for this version of the American dream to be crushed for future generations will be a terrible disadvantage to most of our society and will not allow for people to chase their dreams in areas of study or jobs filled by the smaller groups that receive the benefits of their money.


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