The American Dream…
The foundation of America was built on top of a strong middle class workforce who believed anyone could obtain their “American Dream.” However, the dream of nice houses surrounded by a white picket fence, Social Security benefits, and sending your kids to college with the intention of getting a nice job after graduation, currently resembles more of a nightmare than a dream.
America was built on the hard labor of the middle class, but a lot of those manufacturing and service jobs once held in the U.S. have been shipped overseas. Currently, we find those white picket fences have foreclosure signs hanging from them due to the major housing bubble. Borrowers once looking to get a piece of the dream, now find themselves unable to pay the increasing mortgage payments on their adjustable-rate loans. Social security is also said to run dry by 2037, and contributing Americans are not protected from decisions made by congress to deny them benefits when their time comes. The job market is still suffering, and many of those not included in the 9% Unemployment rate are still living paycheck to paycheck. The chance of parents affording the expenditures of sending their kids to college are not as promising as they once were. And those fortunate to attend college are finding they are not guaranteed a job after graduation, on top of having to repay high student loans.
Is this evidence that the foundation of the American “Dream” is cracked and crumbling?
The struggling middle class are working to make ends meet and stay afloat, and with the slow economic growth and high unemployment, they seem to be facing onslaught from all sides.
In 2005, the bottom 20% of household earners in the U.S. had an average annual income of $10,665, while those in the top 20% earned an average of $160,000. When taking a look at the current ‘Great Recession’, as it is referred to by some, the unemployment rate is stuck at 9.6% while CEO pay is increasing. The income gap is widening and now, in 2010, the top 20% of workers (making over $100,000 per year) received almost 50% of all income generated in the U.S., compared to almost 4% earned by those below the poverty line.
It looks like many of those who once enjoyed a modest slice of the pie are without jobs– with little chance of return.