Is this something we can logically believe in anymore? The idea is that with a little effort or talent anyone can become famous or rich. Movies, Books and the news constantly talk about how the average joe can succeed in life and make millions. Movies, “Based on true stories.” are more likely to lead the Box Office because people want to see something they can relate to. They hope to be successful by the strategy of monkey-see-monkey-do. This poses a huge problem because the chances of living the American Dream by working hard isn’t that easy. Plenty of people work hard every single day of their life, but never see more than a minimum wage. Plenty of people work hard to get the right education and skills, but never see more than a cubicle. If this is the reality, why is “Living the American Dream,” still a valuable ideal to us?
In my opinion, I think this idea was only relevant to the Industrial Revolution period, where we saw a massive boom in industry growth as well as the migration of millions of people. In the early 1830′s with the first Industrial revolution, we saw the development of textile mills, machine tools, railways, steam engines and mining. This provided the opportunity for significant job growth and wealth increase. At this point if you wanted your family to be rich, it would have been a good move to invest in the steam locomotive or the oil industries. Another opportunity came with the Second Industrial Revolution in the 1860s, where we began to see the rise of companies such as General Electric, Standard Oil, Bayer AG, which today are all multi-billion dollar corporations. It seems to me that in order to have success today we have to have another boom, like we did in the Industrial Period.
It’s all about technology today. This includes, Phones apps, medical advancements, cyber intelligence and computer technology, aerospace and mechanical engineering, biotechnology and robot surgery. These new fields require advanced degrees and years of experience. With college costs rising, the average joe isn’t going to have an easy time paying for a 6-8 year degree, which may or may not get them a job later on.
But if everyone seeks to live the “American Dream” then why is it so hard?
Key Issues: Unemployment Rate, Full Employment and The Deficit/Debt
The unemployment rate is currently 7.6% in the U.S. Some reasons for this are: companies aren’t willing to hire new people, humans are being replaced by technology and most companies won’t hire someone who has been out of work for more than six months.
Hiring new people costs money. It costs money to train the person and it’s a gamble with every person hired. A company has rely on the fact that every person working for them is competent and can make their company more efficient. Every poor worker poses a threat because it’s like throwing money out the window, then the company has to look to replace that person, if they can’t then they will decrease the amount of people they need to work for them by reorganizing the company.
The technology has to do mainly with factories. Most factories are run by machines and humans are only needed for final product inspections and maybe small tasks that the robot cannot yet do. Every number of workers replaced by a robot saves money. Robots don’t earn a wage.
Those out of work for a period of time will seek unemployment benefits, while they are looking for a new job. What most people don’t know, is that most companies will not hire someone who has been out of work for a long period of time. They will ask why were out of work and why you couldn’t find a job. They will assume that you have been lazy and unwilling to find a job. Corporations want to hire people who they know will be with them for a long time and not someone who is lazy or switches jobs every six months.
Full employment does not refer to 100% of the population working. It means 100% of the population that can work is working. This excludes, children under 16, retired citizens, prisoners in jail, people in hospitals or institutions and those who cannot work do to a handicap. In order to fix the unemployment rate we have to work on getting everyone who can work a job as well as the training they need to get that job.
The debt of the U.S. is currently $17 Trillion and the Deficit is around $4 Trillion this year.
What’s the difference between debt and deficit?
Debt is the money we have accumulated over a long period of time and deficit is debt we have accumulated in a single year, which adds on the overall debt.
The biggest cause of debt are all the wars the U.S. seems to be getting itself into as well as the unnecessary large defense budget it has. The defense budget is currently $680 Billion, which is the biggest budget ever proposed, and is being used primarily to fight The War On Terror in the Middle East. I don’t know about you, but I dislike the idea of my tax dollars being used to blow up innocent people by Drones. (In case you haven’t heard Drones are the new thing being used by the CIA. They cost over $1 Billion to make and only about 2/3 of them actually work. A drone is an aircraft, which is controlled by a guy/gal sitting in a control room, thousands of miles away from the detonation site.) One could argue that war is good because it creates jobs, but that only comes when it is required for many more soldiers to leave U.S. soil and well as having us move to ration tickets. Since Drones save soldier lives, then they aren’t really needed to go into enemy territory and fight.
What I propose we do.
1. Work of fixing employment rather than fixing the deficit/debt.
The debt and deficit will fix itself, once we reach full employment. With more people able to spend money and pay taxes the more cumulative debt we will be able to get rid of.
2. Get rid of loopholes in the taxes as well as simplify the tax documents.
The 1% (Anyone who makes $350,000 +) have ways of avoiding paying taxes by using loopholes in the system. One of these ways is lobbying in The White House. “I’ll donate $5 million from my company to your campaign, if you eliminate or decrease the amount of taxes my company and I have to pay.” This is a very common strategy used by CEO’s and people who can talk with their money.
Also many people miss the opportunity to save on their taxes because they miss out seeing key tax information. Instead of saving $2-3 thousands they could be saving $4-5 thousand on their taxes. Simplifying the tax system could allow people to have more money to put back into the economy.
3. I know you don’t want to hear this one, but raising taxes even further is a good option. The rate of taxes in the U.S. is low compared to other countries. The average tax rate for a person in the U.S. is about 20%, while countries such as the U.K., Sweden, Japan, China, Netherlands, and Denmark pay Individual Taxes with a rate of 35-57% If we think we have it bad, you’re joking.
4. Increase Tax on corporations. Corporations are taxes about 10% less than a person is taxed on their individual income.
5. Decrease the defense budget. We do not need $680 Billion on defense, it’s ridiculous and takes money away from healthcare and other services, which are beneficial to people. No other country has that budget, if we compare other countries the U.S. spends $500 billion more on defense. Stop.
6. Stop raising the debt ceiling. Every time we do, we accumulate more debt, which further eliminates our possibility of living in a happy environment. The debt ceiling, in my opinion, is only raised when we need more money to spend on he war on terror and defense.
In conclusion we need a lot of work on this country before we can even think of living the American Dream. The American Dream hasn’t existed since the end of WW II, when the unemployment rate reached nearly 1% and we were happy having enough jobs and starting business’ that would soon become large multi-billion dollar corporations. Good luck starting a business in today’s economy.
Unless you have the cure to cancer or the next biggest innovation in your back pocket, you’re going to have to settle living as an average person. Do not believe the movies or books that are published, they are nothing more than an unachievable idea.