Is the American Dream Over? a Critical Commentary on the Future of the United States
What is the American Dream and why was it so Good while it Lasted?
For a long time, the United States was seen as the Land of Milk and Honey where anyone and everyone with some talent, lots of hard work, sheer grit, and dogged determination could make a career for themselves and raise a family and whose children would similarly move up the social ladder in due course in the footsteps of their parents.
Indeed, for much of the decades following the Second World War, the United States was synonymous with rising prosperity, higher social mobility, and a world beating way of living where want and need were promptly answered by the consumerist culture.
This was not only true for Americans but also for immigrants from all over the world who flocked to its shores in the hope of making a life for themselves in such dream conditions.
As waves and waves of immigrants from all over the world, including India, made a name for themselves in the United States, it seemed like there was no end to the good times.
The American Dream spurred great inventions, numerous advances in science and technology and made the country the superpower that it became in due course.
Is the American Dream Over and how it became a Nightmare for the Many?
So, if the United States is indeed the beacon of prosperity and liberty, one might very well ask, why should anyone be asking Whether the American Dream is over?
After all, its economy is booming and there are enough indications that the rising prosperity is back again.
However, a closer look at the macroeconomic and microeconomic trends since the 1970s and a deep investigation into the wealth patterns and consumption levels tell their own stories about how the gains from growth have gone to a few and the many have been impoverished.
In other words, since the 1970s, the real incomes of middle class and lower class Americans have been stagnating whereas the incomes of the upper class and the rich have been going up.
Moreover, inequality has increased as the economic pie has been divvied into most of the gains going to the Top 1% and the rest simply muddling through.
Further, rising healthcare costs, decline of unionization, high student debt, and reducing social security have all made one question whether the American Dream is only for the Rich whereas for the rest, it is a Nightmare.
For the first time, the middle class can no longer expect its offspring to do well than them and thus, there is no dream to look forward to.
How This Situation Came to Pass and Why Both Republicans and Democrats Are to Blame
Some experts believe that this situation did not come about by accident but by design wherein since the 1970s, the economic orthodoxy of the Chicago School of Economics led by the Late Milton Friedman, influenced the macroeconomic policies through what was known as Neoliberalism.
Under this doctrine, government was supposed to be as insignificant as possible as far as welfare and social nets are concerned and as favourable to business as possible as far as spurring economic growth was concerned.
Moreover, Neoliberalism also preached that capitalism works best when unfettered and hence, there should be no impediments to its workings.
Thus, with this thought processes, the remaining vestiges of social safety nets and welfare schemes were soon whittled down leading to the creation of an angry White Middle Class.
In addition, with globalization leading to loss of manufacturing jobs and automation driving the proverbial Last Nail in the Coffin of the Poor, there was nothing to look forward to for the lower and the upper middle classes.
Mind you, this situation happened not only by the Republicans who preached Neoliberalism but also by the Democrats who espoused Globalization.
Trump, 2020, and the Future of the US
Thus, the combination of all these trends brought about the Demise of the American Dream. As is happening worldwide, when you have an electorate of angry, frustrated, and disappointed voters, then phenomenon such as Brexit, and the election of Trump are inevitable.
While the campaign of Trump was driven by rhetoric against the elites and a sense of taking revenge on the establishment, his subsequent actions prove that he is in fact more of the same or a Return to the Status Quo and Business as Usual.
Which means that sooner or later, the anger felt by the working classes would soon turn to soft targets such as the Immigrants which are the case with the US right now?
Looking ahead, unless there is a truly transformative President and a Progressive Administration along with a Cooperative Legislature and Judiciary, there is nothing to hope for as far as the US is concerned.
Going by current trends, the 2020 election is turning out to be quite a key and consequential one and hence, there is still some chance that voters would finally make the right choice and not be swayed by Fascists and Populists who take advantage of their Distorted Sense of Reality.
Lastly, it also needs to be mentioned that the US is no longer welcoming for Immigrants and hence, if you are from any country that sees many migrating to it, you better look for alternatives such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, where there are better chances of making it big than in the United States.
The acceleration of the trends discussed above means that the Die has been cast and it would take much effort to restore the American Dream and to conclude, the Nightmare might well continue.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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