Diamond Bar High School

Opinion: The American Dream is no longer achievable

The American Dream has long been considered a magnificent concept — one of liberty and opportunity.

Originally popularized by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 book “the Epic of America,” this set of ideals embodied the national ethos, bringing hope to countless families and pioneers who finally experienced social mobility and equal opportunity. However, the American Dream is no longer achievable by the masses due to the deteriorating economy and ubiquitous cynical selfishness.

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Change in the average American income, overall wages and productivity since 1979 (Courtesy of Mother Jones)
cost of living chart Opinion: The American Dream is no longer achievable
Cost of Living (Courtesy of David Stockman, My Budget 360)

We struggle to survive in this economy of rising costs including everything from home prices to movie tickets to, most notoriously, ridiculously expensive college educations that worry every millennial from east to west.

Again we see that trickle-down economics is ineffective — the lower classes (for lack of a euphemism) are not reaping the fruits of their labors, and this relative stagnation renders the overall population unable to pay off said rising costs.

We, the rising generation, have lost faith in the American Dream already: there is no longer any sense of self-control or delayed gratification in hopes of future success; we simply blow off our income on superficial markers of “success,” such as Supreme apparel or that fifth Gucci belt. This blatant inability to plan for the future intensifies the dearth of financial mobility and retirement savings.

Also, the outlook on life has become much darker: we see the media turning to darker and darker themes.  Lack of civil discourse makes relationships harder to form; presumption of good faith has become a far-away ideal.

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Democrats and Republicans More Ideologically Divided than in the Past, Courtesy of Pew Research Center

With politicians becoming more and more divided than ever before, so have debates and other political discussions.  Facebook communities have similarly become charged and intolerant of other people’s perspectives. This is a clear sign that our nation is falling apart.  We must consider: if there is no accepting community on the other side, how are immigrants and pioneers to succeed and thrive?

Nobody is taking a satisfactory step to remedy this. The people who are protected by the status quo are the ones who need to change it.  We are simply promulgating this economic and social disparity, fueling and in turn fueled by our massive yet notoriously fragile egos, thereby quashing all potential for anybody seeking to make a newer life.

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