American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality

Do Americans Finally Realize the American Dream Is Dead?

The Strandberg family story has been repeated millions of times in the last century. His parents immigrated from Sweden in the 1920s for economic opportunity. Linden grew up and worked at the phone company in Chicago for 35 years. “I wasn’t smart enough to go to college, so I wanted to get a steady job with decent pay,” he says.

The optimism was largely gone and with it both the excitement and the delusion. The time-honoured rhetorical appeals to a life of relentless progress, upward mobility and personal reinvention didn’t work the way they used to. “The language around the American dream wasn’t carrying the same resonance,” Joel Benenson, one of Obama’s key pollsters, told the Washington Post. “Some of the symbols of achieving the American dream were becoming burdens owning that house with the big mortgage was expensive, owning two cars and more debts; having your kid go to college. The cost and burden of taking out those loans was making a lot of Americans ambivalent. They weren’t sure a college education was worth it.” This internet wasn’t just about the recession though of course that didn’t help but a far more protracted, profound and painful descent in expectations and aspirations that has been taking place for several decades. For underpinning that faith in a better tomorrow was an understanding that inequality in wealth would be tolerated so long as it was coupled with a guarantee of equality of opportunity.

Marco Rubio: I voted against debt-ceiling hike to protect ‘American dream.’

Theyre voting to not allow us to even debate whether the debt ceiling should be raised. Are they afraid of that? Do they just want this to go away?” Republicans don’t just want big reforms, they also want small changes to Obamacare — for instance, including a provision that would require income-verification for recipients before they receive tax subsidies to purchase insurance on the individual market. Democrats say that’s a “poison pill” because the current system doesn’t allow for the verification. Also, the federal Obamacare sign-in website has been a technical and public-relations disaster because it has worked for so few people due to apparent computer-code error and inadequate capacity to handle the crush of people signing in since Oct. 1.

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