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stanleybmanly's avatar

Has the American dream evaporated?

Asked by stanleybmanly (17444points) September 8th, 2017 from iPhone

It seems to me that during downturns of the past there was always a general consensus that things would improve. We are supposedly in the midst of accelerating recovery. Why doesn’t it feel that way?

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16 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Evaporated? It’s far beyond evaporation.

It is as dehydrated as a tea leaf in the Sahara.
As faded as a 14th century tapestry.
Charred beyond recognition like a pizza left in the oven overnight.
It is as flat as a Crepe, as thin as a sheet of paper, as dull as the paint on a 150 year old house, as crippled as a wingless bird.

Shall I go on?

Pachy's avatar

For some, it’s still obtainable. For some, it never was.

flutherother's avatar

The American Dream, which has been in decline since the 1960’s, is being finished off even as we speak by the storm surge of tweets from Hurricane Trump. An evacuation of continental USA is advised as it will possibly take four years for this thing to blow itself out.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“It seems to me that during downturns of the past there was always a general consensus that things would improve.”

Upon what merit? Smart work or wishful thinking? There is also another meme from the past that states: “Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do.”

I’m glad you prefaced your statement with “It seems to me…”. Please understand that it didn’t necessarily “seem” that way to everyone.

I adhere to a genetic model of economics. When a body (society) is stressed, cells that continue as they are will continue being stressed. Cells that engage beneficial mutations will thrive. So perhaps those who are stressed will engage as many mutations as possible in order to find one that leads to thriving.

I know a lady, who under economic stress, first mutated her life by economizing, downsizing. Then she mutated again by taking advantage of all the free education on YouTube. In her case, she learned wordpress. Then she mutated again by offering her services to web developers. After many rejections, she finally retained one cheap paying client, then two. Her smart work has satisfied the desire to “improve”.

Amateurs wait for things to happen. Professionals make things happen.

“We are supposedly in the midst of accelerating recovery.”

“We”? While some are awaiting for that to happen, others are attempting to make it happen. Those who are attempting to make it happen will receive the first and most accelerated bountiful rewards. Those who await for it to happen may never see any rewards at all.

Engage, even at the lowest level, and contribute to making it happen. Socialize and network. Just like thriving genes do.

“Why doesn’t it feel that way?”

To some, it does. To others, not so much.

Certainly no one believes that the “American Dream” was ever based upon a dream. No. It was, and is always based upon a universal human desire to achieve as much as those who achieve more than we ourselves do. There is absolutely nothing “American” about it.

Coloma's avatar

^ The supposed accelerated recovery is primarily in the low level, min wage job sector and also in predominately male oriented fields. Not too many women, especially mature, older women, are going for the lube tech position at Jiffy Lube or the tire technician at Americas tires.
Another factor is nobody has the numbers on how many people have taken early retirement or just stopped looking for work after years of no luck. Many, many people have permanently checked out since the recession, especially older middle aged people.

I have.
Lots of people living on gig work and other part time things strung together in place of their once, “real” jobs.
l’m living a low key alternative lifestyle doing pet and house sitting and exchanging services for a small guest house apartment on a rural property after having my own home for decades and decades and a nice, fat nest egg until the economic meltdown tarred and de-feathered my nest. I will never climb aboard the hamster wheel of bullshit again.

I had a taste of the American Dream for some years and then it became the nightmare that devastated so many.
The old pull yourself up by your bootstraps doesn’t apply to a lot of people whose boots were lost a long time ago.

josie's avatar

No. But global economic competition and the increasing cost of carrying an enormous national debt have made it more difficult to obtain.
You won’t achieve it working at McDonald’s or being a cashier at WalMart

The American dream requires more skill and education than it used to.

Coloma's avatar

@josie Absolutely and gone are the days of job security, regardless. 40 is the “new” 60 when it comes to phasing out a lot of people. When you can replace one 100+k a year employee with 2 or 3 young upstarts. That’s the game now too.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@stanleybmanly Can you define what you mean by the American dream..?

It suddenly dawned on me that one person’s dream may not be the same for another person.

For some early immigrants, it could be nothing more than Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. I can see a good argument for claiming that Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are more difficult to achieve than in other more prosperous times. But I can also see an argument to the contrary.

What do you mean by the American dream? I can’t honestly say what it means to me beyond the ability society allows me to pursue my personal goals.

Coloma's avatar

I think the premise of the ‘American Dream” is that through hard work and perseverance one can attain a comfortable life, even a good measure of wealth , a nice home, a comfy retirement. Along with America being a land of opportunity and equality for all races. Once upon a time, once upon a time.

stanleybmanly's avatar

l will accept @Coloma‘s version of the dream with this addendum: a reasonable expectation of being able to provide your children with opportunities unavailable to yourself as a child.

zenvelo's avatar

The American Dream, that anyone could achieve a solid middle class life with savings for a comfortable retirement, went on life support with Ronald Reagan juicing inflation to 18% and tripling the deficit to cut taxes for the wealthy. Trillions spent by Bush, Cheney, and Co to pay for shit nothing in the Middle East put a stake through its heart.

There are millions of jobs available right now, but most workers not trained/educated for them and most in the wrong part of the country.

johnpowell's avatar

It depends on how you define it. Some people define it as starting a small business and becoming the next Papa John (Horrible pizza BTW).

I define it as getting a job and being able to own a nice home and having enough cash to replace your roof without worrying.

My sisters husband is a pipe-fitter and makes over 100K a year. And that is with no real education. 30 years ago he got a apprenticeship and now makes bank. Her husband before that was a Electrician and bangs out 60K a year. Semi-skilled but anyone can walk into BOLI and they will try to hook you up with a apprenticeship.

My buddy walked into BOLI and two weeks later had a HVAC apprenticeship. But it was hard work and he had to wake up at 5am so he quit and went back to his job at Sbarros.

All three of the jobs I mentioned above are union gigs.

I would argue the American dream died at the same pace as unions.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It’s changed. In the 1860’s, it was 40 acres and mule. By the time I was born 90 years later, it was a quarter acre lot with a cookie-cutter tract home plopped upon it. Now it is a condo, governed by a democratically elected neighborhood association, complete with a security wall around the building, or a mobile home with zero lot line in a nice trailer park. But these are just the material accoutrements, symbols that represent the dream.

It has always been about the individual freedom to live a fulfilled life, to each person’s potential, without molestation of one’s neighbors or government. As our population grows and becomes more dense and people become more interdependent, open land becomes scarcer and we continuously demand modern services, we end up compromising those dreams of individual freedoms in proportion to our demands. It’s a trade off most of us are willing to make in order to live a safer, more convenient life.

It hasn’t disappeared. It has only changed with the times and the society we live in.

Coloma's avatar

Good morning america how are ya?

YARNLADY's avatar

No, the news is greatly exaggerated when it comes to an overall perspective.

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