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Nation of Great Opportunity, but Diminishing Prosperity

Updated on January 30, 2017

American Dream Family


American Dream is Dying!


American Dream?

A recent study showed that three out of four Americans believe the “American Dream” is fading.[1] The thought of a hard working American spending their weekdays earning a living and spending their weekends with the family is slowly becoming a distant dream. As wages stay stagnant and prices continue to rise, it is no wonder why so many work overtime or hold two jobs to merely get by. Millions traveled to America to find prosperity that could be found nowhere else, but in recent years the utopia that was America has faded. More recently, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, and Sweden have surpassed the United States as more favorable countries to live.[2] In another poll reported by Forbes, no American city made the list of top places to live in the world and when looking at prosperity of a country, America averaged in at number ten.[3]

[1] Catey Hill, “White People have least confidence in the American Dream,” Market Watch, July 2, 2015,

[2] Siofra M., “Where are the Best Countries to live, in 2014,” The Richest, December 30, 2013,

[3] and

How Times Have Changed!


Driving Forces of Falling Prosperity

America has experience many changes since its highs after World War II. For one thing, prosperity for all has struggled to work its ways down the latter. As other nations boosted all levels of class, America returned to its individualistic ways that consumed the nation in the 19th Century. Even stating this, America still has the strongest economy in the world. There is still much that can be done to alter the course America is on to once again establish the “American Dream.”

One only needs a brilliant idea or successful business venture to go from rags to riches. Startup companies continue to employ across the nation bringing their wealth to millions. Recently one president of an American company cut his million dollar salary to the new company minimum wage of seventy thousand. No matter what his reasons, his tactic has made many raise their eyebrows and wonder what his objective is. His employees experience a massive pay jump, including several doublings of earnings with the wave of a pen.[1]


Higher Wages?

Is raising wages a good strategy?

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There is Still Hope!

Such a monumental decision is one that cannot be assumed to take place across the nation, but is an example of one person sacrificing their wealth for the well-being of others. With so much wealth being accumulated at the top one percent, a need for higher wages is ever more pressing. Paying more to the working class would go much further than leaving the majority of the nation’s wealth in saving accounts and mutual funds. Higher wages would ultimately feed capitalism, allowing more money switch hands. The argument that rising wages would only increase costs of goods holds some truths, but only in the early stages. As more cash flows into businesses, the rise in prices should slow to a normal pace.

Stating all of this, I realize my argument only holds a portion of the population’s agreement. Such a plan would also lower such million dollar salaries that currently exist in so many corporations. Change will eventual come for America, one way or another, just as other civilizations experienced revolution. A simple alteration in taxes, boost in wages, and overall community mindset would prevent such a revolution, but currently no strategy is in place or even being discussed.

Tax the Wealthy

Is taxing the wealthy an unfair strategy?

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    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      3 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      The biggest differences between the nations you mentioned at the beginning and America is they spend 15% plus on their healthcare giving a healthier population but only 1% on defence because they rely on their allies (usually the USA)!

      The USA spends very little on healthcare for its people relying on them to provide for themselves but 10-15% GDP on its military ($700 billion a year) shouldering a burden that the rest of the world should be sharing!

      If the US was to take $35 billion (a cut of 5%) and put that into healthcare how much healthier would the population be? how much more productive? And you haven't changed the tax thresh holds!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Things that need to happen to get us back to the land of opportunity we once were: wealthy pay their fair % of taxes. The salaries of the wealthy go back to 10 to 15 times of average employees and not 150 times. It then becomes feasible to increase the average workers salary.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      3 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, David. The ever widening wealth and income gaps are threatening to strangle our economy. The middle and lower classes need stronger incomes and wealth and will always spend most of it. The wealthy hoard most of their wealth. Higher taxes on the wealthy, a higher minimum wage and protected or even expanded social programs are key to reigniting our economy.

    • Buildreps profile image


      3 years ago from Europe

      The rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer. Raising wages is no solution I think, but taxing the wealthy on income and introducing 100% inheritance tax, gives a much better bases for equality.

      The nation of great opportunity was nothing more than an illusion to get a few filthy rich.

      Great topic you have here, David.


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