Is the American Dream really a fiction to keep the poor in check?

“The Economic Mobility Project’s work should be part of the political debate. Every candidate for president should read these studies and then explain why it’s acceptable that a poor kid has only a 6 percent chance of reaching the top.”

Coming from the bottom 20% personally, and now being, well, certainly not in the bottom 20%…it’s amazing to think that 40% of those who are born poor in the US, will stay poor. And only 6% of those born to the bottom rung of the economic ladder will rise to the top rung. I hadn’t realized it was so rare for people to really “come up” in the US, or maybe I’ve seen too many movies. How about you, do you think that there is still opportunity in the US? I do, but then, I’m an optimist :)

Answer #1

If we never had anyone go from having nothing to reaching the American Dream, then I’d agree - but fact is many, many, have attained it - many through hard work / long hours - so NO - evidence proves it is not really fiction or no one would have really achieved it - appears to be somewhat of a cynical, doom and gloom question.

Answer #2

American Dream: faith in God, peace of mind, loving, giving and caring.

Answer #3

You guys are looking at everything in black and white, as if everyone’s either homeless and living in a box, or dirty stinkin’ rich and only a couple mill under Bill Gates.

Anyone can become anything in America and end up with any kind of a salary, it’s all just the LIKELIHOOD of whether or not people born poor will become rich. Obviously the more money your parents have the more likely you are to being wealthy.

The REAL problem is is it worth all the risk and hard work for someone moderately poor to become moderately wealthy, and the answer depends on how you plan on going about it. Some ways have more risk and less work, and others vice versa, and in a lot of cases people don’t find it worth the work and/or risk to try and become wealthy. They find is easier to get a desk job where they’re told what to do and when to do it for a steady paycheck rather than risk the risks you have to risk if you want to try to strike it rich, in which most cases if you fail you wind up the opposite of rich.

The ‘American Dream’ is NOT being rich. The American Dream is being able to comfortably support yourself and your family, preferably by working a job that you LIKE.

Capitalism isn’t the problem. It’s high taxes and our citizens’ work ethic.

Answer #4


the quote resonated for me, because I come from, statistically, the lowest economic bracket - the bottom quintile.

Not that I need to become rich…it’s that I’ve found, it’s far easier to influence government to “do the right thing” once you’ve achieved a certain socio economic status.

For me, growing up “poor” for lack of a better term, the American dream always meant you could achieve anything…however, only 6% doing so, did seem like a blast of ice water and made me think it’s more rare than hollywood or politicians would have us believe.

Answer #5

I personally see that the American Dream is only there to keep the poor constantly working to give the economy its boost. I believe that it once was possible to have success with the American Dream, but now, it seems that it is only a dream and nothing more. A fictional representation of what the rich people want us to believe. Yes, it would be nice to rise to the top, but the chances are so slim. Hard work in many cases doesn’t pay off (I know, my dad knows, my mom knows so on and so forth).

Answer #6

You are right. It is the biggest con of all. Capitalism means the rich carry on getting richer, poor get poorer but keep quiet because they are told that, they too could be rich one day! The reality is that very few people ever rise above their parents’ social class. But there is no other perfect system,is there? Communism? No. Monarchy? No. Every system has serious failings, so what to do? At least we know.

Answer #7

Yes, you are right. Capitalism, our system is a big con. The rich stay rich (richer?) and the poor stay poor, relatively speaking of course. Only the poor keep quiet and don’t riot, because they believe that one day they may become filthy rich too! Fat chance. It’s a myth to brainwash people into thinking everyone has an equal chance of making it big. The reality is that very few people ever rise above their social class. VERY FEW. But there is no other system that is perfect is there? Communism? Monarchy? no. Every system has major failings, so capitalism is just as bad and unfair as any other system we’ve dreamed up. What to do? The world still needs to function doesn’t it. I offer no answers.

Answer #8

The American dream belongs to those who invented it. They aren’t tricking us , we’re tricking ourselves for letting them program us. Why should we want a new car when our old, paid for car works just fine? Why should we try to keep up with the latest fashion when we can create our own sense of style? Why should we go out to dinner when we just spent $234.76 in groceries. Go home and cook, stop being lazy. Just think your laziness is making someone else’s pockets fat. Create your own dream: that the Lord , our God, will take care of us and give us what we need and more. Strive for peace of mind, a caring and giving heart and you’ll forget that “American Dream”.

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