TheAmerican Dream is a compilation of the national ethos used in theUnited States of America. The ideologies claim that the freedomencompasses the opportunity for success and prosperity, as well as anupscale social mobility acquired via hard work. According to JamesTruslow Adams’ 1931 description of the American Dream, “"Lifeshould be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunityfor each according to ability or achievement" regardless ofsocial class or circumstances of birth (AmericanDream 1).” The inspiration for the American Dream is entrenched inthe United States Declaration of Declaration of Independence thatasserts, “All men are created equal”, as well as, “they haveinnate endowments from their Creator with given undisputable Rights”such as “Liberty, the quest for happiness, and Life.” TheAmerican Dream is a motto that encourages the Americans to strive forthe best in life. They are inspired to be the benchmark of democracy,affluence, healthy lifestyle, innovation, and the role model for theworld. To some extent, the US had achieved its American dream, as ithas been the world’s hegemony over economy, security, affluence,and development platform for numerous years. However, many thingshave changed for the worst (Samuel 7). Throughout the AmericanHistory, the taxes and government regulations have risen steadily,thereby crippling the financial and other capacities the citizensrequire for achieving the full potential in their life. This essayhypothesizes that the American Dream is a hypothetical ambition,which is not attainable in the United States because of the presentgovernment taxes and regulations (Brownstein 6).
ManyAmericans associate the American dream as the capacity forindividuals to amass wealth from scratch. Although there are manyimmigrants in the country who has managed to accumulate vast wealthin form of assets and businesses, the process of climbing the laddercan be quite challenging for the foreigners. The challenges arise inform of acquiring a visa, work permit, and other documents required aperson to start working in the country (Brownstein 11). For example,many African Americans, China, and other immigrants have managed toaccumulate wealth over the years poor foreigners may find itchallenging to establish a new business in the country since they maylack certificates and other basic documentations for loan approval.In other cases, foreigners are denied loans because they have noassets or other credible resources. The alternative for suchinvestors is borrowing from shylocks. Unfortunately, the loan lendersgive exploitative rates that prevent immigrants from developing at ahigh rate (Brownstein 12).
Declarationof the American Independence
Duringthe declaration of the independence, Thomas Jefferson demandedfairness to all the white landowning men. He desired that theAmerican whites be independent of Britain, as well as receive equaltreatment. However, the ambition was selfish because it only soughtequality for the white persons only. He further claimed that everyperson is created equal, and with inseparable such as liberty, life,and the chase for happiness. These innate provisions locked theadvantages to every person, thus the American Dream recognized thesignificance of giving each person an opportunity to develop andachieve maximum potential (Cullen 12). However, over three centuriesafter the American Dream declaration, US citizens can only fancyabout how life should be if they were living as per the dreamtargets. Social equality is still a big problem in the nation, yetthe declaration called for equality for everyone. However, a recentstudy shows that there is a huge difference between the top 10%wealthy persons in the United States and 10% of the poorestindividuals (Evans 1). In a research conducted back in 2010, theevaluators subdivided the income-earning adults into five distinctgroups, classified from high to low income earning category. Thestudy considered household income in families from 1980 across to2010. The classification made it possible for the researchers todetermine the amount of income each percentile earned. The studyconcluded that the highest percentile improved its average householdincome from 44% in 1980 to 50.5% in 2010. The conclusion implies thatthe household income for the rich persons has been increased, whilethe household income for the other groups has reduced steadily overthe years. In fact, the lowest percentile earned 3.3% averagehousehold income in the United States (Brownstein 7).
Anotherreason that has been preventing the United States from attaining theAmerican Dream involves drastic revision on the way Americans manageinvestments, as well as pay taxes. The effects resulted from adecrease of the marginal tax rates. In many developed countries, thegovernments normally accumulate taxation fee through charging therich persons higher taxes. However, the United States have one of themost advanced tax system since it raises its income throughincreasing the average amount each person is charged. The firstadjustment on the top marginal rate was first decreased in 1986. Theamount reduced from 50% to 28%. Originally, 50% of the enterprises inthe United States were classified as C-Corps, thus they were taxed ascorporate businesses. After the reduced tax regulations, theregistered businesses taxed as corporate decreased to 21% by 2007(Wyat-Nichol 258). Seventy-nine percent businesses were registered asC-Corps, so they were taxed as corporate entities while 79% wereregistered as pass-through businesses. The 1986 Tax Reform Actdecreased the personal tax rates significantly lower than thecorporate tax, thus it influenced individuals to reconsider theirenterprises’ structure (Samuel 10). Several corporate incomes aretaxed as personal income since the business owners can save higheramounts of cash than if they were paying taxes as corporateinstitutions. The taxation loophole is one of the reasons the toprich percentile has been accumulating wealth steadily while thelowest percentile has insignificant income growth. The unequaltaxation policies favor the rich, while forcing the poor to digdeeper into the pocket to comply with the high tax rates. The incomeinequality driven by the partial taxation policies has become one ofthe significant obstructions to achieve equality defined in theAmerican dream (Wyat-Nichol 259).
Althoughthe American constitution does recognize the sovereign rights foreveryone, racial discrimination has been a major obstruction towardsachieving the American Dream. The government regulations do favor thewhite Europeans and Caucasians than the colored persons. For example,a recent study conducted in 2010 showed that a white household familywas eleven times wealthier than the typical African family. Thedifference occurred even after standardizing all the factors such aseducation level, experience, profession, and family size (Samuel 12).Another research claimed that the average wages of the AfricanAmericans in 2010 were similar to the income given to typical whiteemployees earned back in 1960s. Since the colored persons’ incomecannot match that of the white persons, this population group hasresolved to take loans and work for longer years. Several seniorcitizens still hold full time jobs because their income is too littleto save adequate money to support their general expenses afterretiring. On the other hand, several people significantly depend onthe credit cards for their regular shopping. For example, the creditcrunch that lasted from 2008 to 2010 is partially attributable to thecredit crunch that peaked in 2008, in the United States. Severalbanks had given Americans unsecured loans or using volatilecollateral such as stock exchange portfolio. The recession madeseveral businesses unprofitable, while others closed downindefinitely. The result of the economy crisis was rampant creditdefault that made banks incur extremely high losses (Brownstein 13).
Thehealthcare of the Americans has also been deteriorating because manylow-income earners cannot afford to pay for the policy. Thismotivated the American Congress to create the Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act (PPACA), which aims at making healthcareinsurance affordable such that the low-income earners can manage toacquire a medical cover. According to the strategists behinddeveloping the plan, the ObamaCare helped to enhance theavailability, affordability, and quality public and private healthinsurance through consumer insurance, protections, taxes,regulations, insurance exchanges and regulations among othernecessities. The policy was designed to complete other existinghealthcare services such as the Medicaid, private insurance, and theMedicare. The plan controls the health care insurance industryinstead of the health care service itself (Davis 10). The mission ofdeveloping a comprehensive plan is ensuring that every patient in theindustry can receive quality medical treatment. For example, the planchanged the insurance policy such that children can remain covered inthe healthcare policy until they attain the 26 years. Other benefitsthe act introduced include preventing insurance services frompracticing gender discrimination, stop insurance companies fromrejecting patients suffering from chronic health conditions, or ifthey make an honest mistake during the application process, reducethe cost of the general health insurance, as well as stop healthinsurance organizations from increasing the cost of medical coverwith no justified cause among others. The US government has shownconsistent dedication in developing a strong health care plan overthe years because many people cannot afford regular privatehealthcare insurance (ObamaCare Facts: Facts on the Affordable CareAct 1). However, entertainers, especially moviemakers, portray theUnited States as a benchmark for health care services in the world.The doctors are often portrayed as extremely informed scientists withability to manufacture complex drugs and medical solutions that cansolve most of the problem. Besides, the movies always portray theAmericans as undefeatable, flexible, and the kingmakers of theuniverse. However, this is just an illusion because a significantpercentage of the Americans are poor people who cannot afford to paybasic medical care bills without government assistance. Theproblem-free United States depicted in Hollywood movie does not existin reality (Davis 18).
Politicalinfluence has led to the establishment of government regulations thatfavor only the rich, thereby reducing lucrative opportunities for themajority of the poor persons. Most of the taxation policies aredesigned with the interest of the rich individuals in mind. Thewealthy persons are either able to mobilize their resources inconducting campaigns that help them to be politicians, while, inother cases, they can sponsor political candidates who can thenfurther their interests. Trough lobbying and sponsoring candidates,they can manage to control persons in charge of making financialregulations, thereby they can establish monopolies in theirrespective industries (Davis 24). The politicians then twist existingtax policy, industry regulation, and business control strategies tosuit their personal needs. For instance, the individual tax returnpolicies were changed from 50% in 1986 to below 20% in during Bush’sadministration (Cullen 13). One of the aims of changing the taxregulations was preventing the rich from filing high returns.However, the poor will continue being poorer because the tax ratesare unfavorable to the low-income earners. Considering that, theUnited States is the world’s biggest economy the country has beencreating elaborate plans to help in improving their money, as well asincrease savings, but none of the strategies has worked. The poorpersons continuously are poorer while the rich are growing richer(Cullen 19).
TheAmerican Dream has also remained in the imagination of many peoplebecause the social class categorization. The America society isclassified into three main social, economic groups including, the lowincome, middle income, and the wealthy. The wealthy group is mainlycomposed of the educated white families. The middle income may becomposed of many affluent white persons and a few coloredindividuals. The low-income category is mainly composed of thecolored persons and a few white persons. The community is influencedby social stratification culture. For example, the wealthy marryindividuals from wealthy backgrounds while the poor marry the poor(Wyat-Nichol 258). As a result, many lower income persons haveelaborate plans for gaining wealth such as proprietorship, but theycannot accomplish the ambitions due to competition and lack ofadequate capital. The well off are able to generate income and wealthbecause they have assets that can be used as collateral for borrowingloans, in case, they have no liquid assets available (Cullen 15). Onthe other hand, the poor can only imagine being affluent since even alittle income, they earn goes to paying mortgages, rent, ordevelopment programs. Several white descendants have inheritedmassive wealth from their parents in the form of real estate, land,and businesses. The wealth difference has created unequalopportunities for the various socioeconomics society, thus theAmericans can only dream about a society that recognizes thateveryone is equal (Brownstein 4).
Adoptionof advanced technology has become a necessity in the recent past.However, it is disadvantageous because it tends to deny employmentopportunity, mainly to the unskilled and semi-skilled individuals.The government created regulations that require persons being hired,in the technical fields, to have certificates and credentials fromrelevant authorities to prove their level of expertise (Brownstein4). The policy that requires vetting and evidence of certificatesfrom an accredited academic institution for an employee to join theprofessional workforce, often, lock out skilled persons with noacademic institution skills. In fact, several people are unable tosecure employment opportunities because the government regulationshave established the least expected qualifications (Samuel 9). On theother hand, Americans apply technology as a demonstration of theirknowledge and capacity for innovation. Unfortunately, technology hasalso made the United States engage in constant war as it tries todefend its international interests. In many cases, the advancedweapons has deviated the American through causing massive deaths. Forexample, the 1945 atomic bomb attacks in Japan caused too many deathsmainly to innocent Japanese civilians. Some war analysts argue thatthe bombing was unnecessary because the Japanese were already on theverge of ending the Second World War.
Globalizationinfluence is another critical hindrance of the United States fromachieving the American Dream. The introduction of advancedcommunication technology led to the development of overseas andoutsourcing production programs. Several American companies have beenrelocating their industrial tasks to Asian countries such as China.In 2011, the United States Bureau of Statistics reported that theUnited States was losing employment opportunities to the overseasmarket at a worrying rate. Over a million jobs had been transferredto China only, which has become a major manufacturing center. Thecountry’s vast and skilled population provides affordable andprofessional skills the country requires in achieving maximumproduction. Relocation of industries into cheap labor zones helps thecompany owners to accumulate higher profits while the local laborersare left jobless (Samuel 16). The Americans imagine they are wealthybecause they manufacture several products, as well as control theworld economy stability, but many people have lost employmentopportunities after relocating their operations to Asia. On the samenote, the average returns that companies relocating to othercountries have increased drastically (Wyat-Nichol 259). This meansthat entrepreneurs are amassing vast wealth while potential employeescontinue wallowing into poverty. The government should createpolicies that would support establishment of an attractive productionenvironment in the United States to discourage outsourcing. Accordingto economists, China has potential of becoming the largest economy inthe world in the near future. If the government can change the marketregulations such that manufacturers in the United States and competeefficiently from the overseas based importers, the country wouldcreate employment opportunities that would help to reduce the poor,as well as enable them to pursue happiness as the American dreamstates (Brownstein 5).
Sincethe 1990s, the United States has been deindustrializing. Instead offocusing on establishing industries, the country is investing onservice industry sector such as research and development, education,and training expatriates. As a result, the cost of labor in the UShas increased drastically because most of the employees are highlyskilled, and suited for working in big industries (American Dream 1).Unfortunately, only few employment opportunities are available forprofessionals trained in various fields. This has made many skilledprofessionals, with potential for working in a challenging andwell-paying market that can let them achieve, and live, as per theAmerican dream. However, the government will require restructuringthe policies so that foreign and local investors can establish localenterprises that would provide employment to these professionals(Brownstein 6).
However,the United States has established a variety of regulations that areintended to create equality among the employees. For example, thereis a regulation that determines the least remuneration that anindividual working in a given field can get. Similarly, thegovernment has also capped the maximum wages that public servants canget. The significance of a detailed remuneration program ispreventing some individuals from receiving hefty incomes others getlower salaries because they belong to a minority race. In addition,the United States has amended the constitution to ensure that gender,religion, or racial backgrounds are not factors for judging thelimitations of prospective candidates for a given job (Cullen 19).For example, Barrack Obama, the incumbent American president, hasAfrican American roots. Obama broke the American history aftersuccessfully contesting for a political position that was previouslyassumed suitable for white persons. Second, the country hasintroduced a new tax system that deducts tax from an individual’ssalary (American Dream 1). Previously, the employees were receivingthe whole income, and then they were supposed to deduct the amountdedicated for tax and deposit in another defined account. The processwas tedious, as well as tempted people to spend the amount dedicatedfor paying tax (Cullen 15). The automated system deducts income taxesautomatically. Third, the government has established severalfinancial programs to lend individual`s capital for various purposessuch as investing, paying mortgages, and catering for emergencies.Fifth, the United States has been marketing its workers as extremelyskilled and expensive. Besides, the government has establishednumerous universities and colleges foreLastly, the 2010 AffordableHealth Care ACT (AHCA) was made with the objective of controllingboth the public and private health insurance provider. The act hasincreased the years under which a child can remain covered under theparents’ insurance from 18 to 26 (ObamaCare Facts: Facts on theAffordable Care Act 1).
Unfortunately,these measures have not adequately addressed critical challenges manyAmericans experience. For example, many people are still yearning togain economic equality in the country. The remuneration packages forthe white persons have remained significantly higher compared to thecolored individuals. The income difference is a key sabotage towardsachieving equality for every person. In addition, the effects ofglobalization will continue affecting the internal business climatein the United States until the bilateral trades are regulated(Brownstein 24). Importers acquire cheap products from cheap laborzones, thereby competing unfairly with local manufacturers. Lastly,the effort for overcoming obstacles arising from challengesassociated with racial problems have to some extent worked, butAmericans are yet to overcome the stereotypic attitude that thecolored persons are inferior or they should not receive equaltreatment to the white persons (American Dream 1).
Thefrustrations of the poor Americans with no means for pursuinghappiness, or receiving equal treatment have led to the stagnation ofthe American dream. Several skilled employees are jobless, and haveno reliable income thereby, they cannot meet their basic financialrequirements. To compensate for these weaknesses, Americans pursuehappiness through developing classic fictitious movies and novelsdepicting the country as highly developed, poverty-free, and a safeplace with everything ordinary human beings would require for livinga full life. The country does also undertake costly ventures to proveits strength, such as the alleged global war against terrorism, andthe burden of financing the war is passed to the citizens. On thesame note, the government regulations in charge of controllinglending, immigration documents, and provision of essential documentsto foreign persons is often tedious, thus discourages prospectiveforeign investors in the United States. The government should adjustthe policies regulating the general business environment of theforeigners.
“AmericanDream,” Wikipedia.Last modified on May 16, 2014<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream>
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