The American Dream is elusive, its definition changes from person to person and though it is often spoken of it is rarely achieved. Because of the rarity of the successful “American Dream” it leads to the question of how accessible that dream is to everyone. America is full of hard workers and yet we all don’t have trophy wives, a mansion, or a Rolls Royce. I am by no means saying the American dream is dead, I’m saying you shouldn’t expect to ever achieve it.
What I’ve heard my whole life is if you want to be successful you have to go to college. But many people who achieve the American dream don’t go to college, or they drop out once they find their big idea. For example Bill Gates dropped out to start Microsoft, Steve Jobs dropped out to start Macintosh, and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out to start Facebook. Those who finish college are usually set up with well paying jobs but not salaries worthy of being dubbed the “American Dream.” Lawrence Shatkin wrote once you factor in college expenses and the increase in housing college students only receive an 8-10% benefit. I dream of yachts and vacation homes in Greece, rarely do I dream about an 8-10 percent pay raise.
Hard work is not always proportionate to the amount you’re paid. Many would say someone who works with their hands work harder than someone that works in an office, but the paychecks often say otherwise. Anyone who’s worked at a restaurant will tell you it’s neither a fun nor easy job. You spend long periods on your feet, you deal with rude customers, the management is unfriendly, and you’re in an uncomfortable uniform. Despite all that the pay cannot support the cost of living. Barbara Ehrenreich wrote that, “this job (waitress) shows no sign of being financially viable,” and goes on to describe the unpleasant housing of her coworkers. These people work hard, they just weren’t lucky enough to achieve their dream.
Another argument on the validity of the American dream is that you need to have money to make money. If you don’t start out with money you’ll have to borrow, most likely, from a bank and you will be at the mercy of the bank until you can pay them back with interest. Banks aren’t supportive and they don’t care what you’re doing, if you miss payments they will come four your assets. In source C cartoonist Dave Kaspersin draws two wealthy looking men baiting a group of people with a carrot. Though they are all working hard to get it they just can’t.
That is the state of the American dream. It’s possible but completely improbable. People can try and often work very hard, but too often they just can’t achieve their goal and it becomes a lot of work for very little gain. The American dream shouldn’t be disregarded; we should mend our society to make the American dream accessible to all people that want to become a part of our great country.