This is an extract from dissertation on American Dream:
In the past fifty years, many people have sought out the American Dream. Many changes had to take place in our society for some people to reach this. The dream has been affected and changed throughout the years, but still not all can achieve it to this day, though it may be easier. It has been an adventure and somewhat of a struggle, but it still seems that some people were not quite able to reach the American Dream.
The typical American dream is to own a nice house, at least one car, a job to support a family, and security. Not many people in the early days could achieve this dream for various reasons. For example, by the 1970’s, all working women combined earned only 60% of the males salary and only 12% of women in the 1950’s had jobs. Therefore, not everyone could live the American Dream. If women did not have a husband, they had a difficult time supporting themselves and their kids. Women could not get descent jobs because they were seen as housewives. They also could not vote or get proper schooling. A lot of sexism was going around and it made it especially hard for women to get through life, knowing they were inferior to men. Today, women are equal to men and have all the rights men do. They can get any job they want and are able to support themselves. Women can also vote and get proper education.
Also, during the boom years, women and minorities were discouraged. Minorities were often refused loans to buy houses and real estate agents refused to show them houses. Since the American Dream is to own a house, minorities could not accomplish their American Dream. This is not the case today. People who want to buy a house are most of the time able to, and are not discriminated by their status.
Consumption was another problem involving the American Dream. Not everyone could consume goods equally and there was a lack of money. As stated before, women could not get good jobs, so consuming products was a problem. There were also problems with the oil industry. Oil prices increased dramatically, because OPEC struck against our allies and imposed an oil embargo. All because we helped Israel when Egypt and Syria attacked on October 6, 1973. Since oil prices went up, people with cars, could not afford gas. As a result many people were left with no cars to drive around and some of their American Dream was shattered.
After the 9/11 attacks, some people’s American Dream was threatened. Many did not feel secure or protected in their own neighborhood. As for the economy and such, 5 trillion dollars was lost, airlines were down 12.5%, revenues went down 30%, there was bankruptcy, 114,711 workers were laid off, and 130,600 airline workers were laid off.
Reaganomics increased debt and programs were cut. There was lower income for workers leading to poverty among many. Reagan’s plan to increase government spending credited to debt and lowered inflation. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. This does not happen much anymore. The government tries to help people in poverty. There are a lot of shelters and programs that take care of people in need.
Later, the Food Stamp Act and Education Act was passed thanks to Lyndon B. Johnson. This helped out the society greatly. He also established aid for local law enforcement and crime prevention. People were able to feel more secure in their homes and in their community. In addition, when Clinton was in office, things got better too. He signed a legislation saying that people who were on welfare, should have jobs. There was the lowest unemployment rate in 30 years and more then 225 jobs were created. Minimum wage was increased by 90 cents, thus allowing more people to achieve the American Dream.
We might also ask ourselves; is the American Dream dependent upon its position in the global community? Well, yes: Good paying American jobs, higher living standards, and the continued growth of the U.S economy depends on our position in the global community. Wages have grown by 5.2% between 1994 and 1998. Unemployment dropped from 6.5% to 4.3% when NAFTA passed and every billion dollars of goods and services exports result in thousands of jobs in the U.S. The WTO reduced barriers to trade with 134 other members. We are one of the world’s most powerful nations and because of this, almost everyone should reach the American Dream.
Today, Bush is our President. When Bush took office, the unemployment rate went up 5.9%. People slipped into poverty and crime rates increased. So what can I say, the American Dream seems to be a roller coaster for many. With each passing year, new and different things happen. They may be for the better and they may be for the worse. But this is how things have always been, and right now, the American Dream is stuck in neutral. Too much chaos goes on in our lives and everyday is an adventure, but maybe one day, everyone will be able to have this American Dream. Maybe one day, EVERYONE will enjoy life and live it to the fullest with all his or her needs met.
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