Lincoln High School Statesman

Rags or riches: deconstructing the American Dream

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Rags or riches: deconstructing the American Dream

The American Dream (n.): The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.

The American Dream (n.): The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.

Laslovarga

The American Dream (n.): The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.

Laslovarga

Laslovarga

The American Dream (n.): The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.

Cathleen Weng, News Editor

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The American Dream (n.): The ideal that every US citizen should have an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative.

Coined by James Truslow Adams in 1931, the American Dream has served as an emblem of hope, a benchmark of success and a concept explored through a number of notable novels. Connoisseurs of the American Dream aspire to achieve economic prosperity through hard work alone, dig themselves up from poverty and build an American empire. Now, according to a CNN poll, 59 percent of Americans believe that the American Dream is unachievable.

Growing up post-Great Recession means that today’s young adults have experienced great economic hardships: stagnant wages, increased tuition and debt and less income overall. There has been a new disillusionment with the American Dream as young adults find economic prosperity increasingly difficult, even with all their hard work. Economic mobility, measured by an individual’s ability to achieve a higher level of education and wealth than their parents, has been on the decline since the 1940s, according to Forbes.

There are some promising statistics in favor of the American Dream – the high school dropout rate is lower. Eighty-four percent of Americans have more income than their parents and the immigrant population, a key component of the population striving for the American Dream, has increased exponentially – but the core of the American Dream lies in the hope that the journey of poverty to privilege provides, a journey which fewer and fewer people are enchanted with. Sixty-three percent of Americans believe that their children will be worse off than they are, the ratio of household debt to disposable income has gone from 60 percent in 1977 to over 100 percent in 2014 and overall, as proved by the six out of ten Americans who no longer believe in it, the American Dream has lost its charm and appeal.

It is time to rethink and redefine the American Dream into a goal that the incoming workforce can work toward and achieve. The American Dream was created as an emblem of hope; it is time to bring that hope back.

Author
Cathleen Weng, News Editor

Cathleen Weng is a junior at LHS. She is the News Editor and a second-year staff member of the Statesman. You could probably find her reading or binge-watching...

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