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Is The American Dream Dead Or Just Sleeping?
The ability of Americans to fulfill their hopes and dreams has come into question in the last few years, leaving many scratching their heads as they ponder why the current generation will be the first in recorded history to experience a lower standard of life than previous generations. A bad economy, increases in government regulation, and debt incurred with military actions have all played a role in America's recent decline - lest we not forget that the acquisition of a college degree is no longer an earmark of superior intellect and character. More accurately, in many instances a good education just represents another person on the unemployment line with dashed hopes for a better future.
It would stand to reason that should the economy recover, military actions subside and a more business friendly governmental posture present itself that we should view a return to the "good old days" that our parents and grandparents enjoyed and embraced. But let us all refrain from jumping for joy so fast, there are a few differences in our society that make The American Dream more difficult than ever to obtain even for those that make all the right moves.
We can start with the common misconception that a sense of entitlement that is sweeping the nation at the present time. According to an article in The Washington Post in the first quarter of 2011 49.1 percent of American households receive some type of government entitlement. Of these, over 90 percent of of total entitlements go to the elderly (53 percent) disabled (20 percent) or in working households (18 percent). So in essence less than ten percent of all entitlement recipients are not working. Still, the cost for entitlements must be shared among working Americans no matter how worthy the recipients may be - which translates to higher taxes and higher national debt.
Add to this that a recent Harvard University study estimates that the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost The United States between $4 trillion and $6 trillion when all is said and done, adding even more disabled veterans to the designation of "entitlement recipients".
So who or what is to blame for making The American Dream so hard to obtain?
One need look no further than our elected officials for an answer. The inability of our Congress and Executive Branch to work together is killing a way of life that has proven fruitful for over 200 years, while resources are diverted to the global community rather than the people that foot the bill and occasionally need a helping hand themselves. There's nothing wrong with helping a friend or ally in need, but certainly not at the expense of inflicting great hardships on your own countrymen. Our so-called "leaders" need to realize this before it's too late.
The American Dream isn't dead at all, merely sleeping until our citizenry awakens and discovers that the majority of turmoil presently experienced is not caused by big business, a lazy workforce or by those on the public dole. The real sense of entitlement resides in those elected officials that willingly accept a government issued check for accomplishing nothing aside from dividing the nation.
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A great number of Americans are redefining the American Dream. That was the takeaway from a recent Credit.com poll, which showed that nearly one in four people between the ages of 18 and 24 defined the American Dream as being debt-free. Shockingly, t