The term ‘American Dream’ was coined as a means of illustrating that it is the desire of each and every American to live in a just society where equality and the want to uphold everyone’s rights are very strong at all times. In fact, James Truslow Adams – the man who came up with the term – pointed out that it is the wish of every American to live in a land where existence would be fuller and richer for everybody and that equality should be exercised irrespective of one’s background or social category (King, Nevertheless, even though King and Leonhardt claim that the spirit of the ‘American Dream’ is still alive, I am of the opposite view since Americans experience many challenges such as inequality, hence, making them more affiliated to their respective social classes.
Summaries of the Essays
Leonhardt is of the opinion that the welfare of the Americans is quite good even though they have been faced with a challenge of inequality over the years. According to him, various measures whose primary objective is to better the lives of the Americans have been put in place one of them is the continuous increase of the low income and the middle-income salaries (Leonhardt, 1). Additionally, high school education in the United States has been made universal, which is a measure of reducing educational disparities among its citizens.
According to King, it would not be fair for one to claim that the American dream is dead since the society has put in place various measures that are geared towards the reduction of any inequality that may exist among its members. For instance, unemployment benefits and a minimum wage programs have been put in place to enable the poor Americans to cater for their day to day needs (King, 5). Also, the American government dictated that the minimum wage should be increased after the Great Recession to close the gap between the higher and the lower income earners.
My Feelings on the ‘American Dream’
Even after reading the two essays, my conviction that the ‘American Dream’ is dead remains. As pointed out by King, the essence of the ‘American Dream’ was in ensuring that equality and fairness among the societal members were held at all times. However, this has not been the case since inequality has significantly increased, hence, leading to a situation where there are more poor Americans than the rich ones (King, 5). Besides, King is of the opinion that the unemployment benefits and the minimum wage policies have not played any significant role in boosting the welfare of the poor Americans. Basing my argument on these reasons, I firmly believe that the ‘American Dream’ is an utopian idea and, hence, I am not yet confident about living in the United States. Although Leonhardt argues that the ever-increasing inequality trend can be reversed (Leonhardt, 1), it was worth noting that doing so is an uphill task, which implies that the pattern will be persistent for an extended period. Therefore, the dream of success (more so among the Americans within the low social class) is unattainable due to a number of reasons; they lack the resources (income) to improve their welfare and also because the only available resources can only be used to cater for their day to day needs such as household expenses.
King, Brandon. ‘The American Dream: Dead, Alive, or on Hold? University of Cincinnati, n.d., http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/write/little-seagull-handbook-2/pdf/King.pdf. Accessed 20 September 2017.
Leonhardt, David. ‘Inequality Has Been Going On Forever…But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Inevitable.’ The New York Times Magazine, 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/magazine/inequality-has-been-going-on-forever-but-that-doesnt-mean-its-inevitable.html. Accessed 20 September 2017.