The American Dream of having a comfortable debt free life has somehow deteriorated over the years. It used to be about working hard, having a good honest job, and being loyal to the occupation. But, now it’s as though that doesn’t seem to be important to life in America. What has happened to the “American Dream”? Why doesn’t it continue being the same? There are many reasons for these downfalls, some of which are supplied by Collins, Moore and Hooks, but hopefully in the future things can improve and the American Dream will lead prosperously.
Many people feel that the American Dream is to be wealthy, luxurious and having a high place in the social ladder. Everyone strives to reach this “Wonderful Dream.” But, everyone gets held back. Collins’ book “Economic Apartheid in America”, explains why these blocks are being put up. He states that one of the major problems is the economic inequality. The corporations such as Nike, Toshiba, and Baby Ruth have set their own standards. This began in the 70’s when the power started shifting to the big corporations. They began to donate money, making their voice become politically heard. This earned them the title “Big Campaign Contributors”, decreasing the average persons national voice. But, that didn’t suffice their greed. The Corporations then continued taking power by having political figures support them control over labor unions.
As a result, rule changes began to be made and accepted. That means that for the labor unions, their voice was beginning to be less heard. A good example is stated when Collins points out the health insurance companies blocking the reform for a non-profit universal health care system. The organization of taxes also contributed to the rule changes. There were big tax cuts for the corporations and wealthy, while tax raises for the hard working middle-class families. They continued this by laying-off hard, dedicated, workers and expecting to be able to pay these high tax raises.
Moore gives a good description of this idea in his book, “Downsize This”. He provides us with examples such as Nike having workers in Indonesia for low profit and sweatshop conditions and Baby Ruth Candy Company laying-off hard working people just as business was picking up. How are people supposed to pay high taxes, or for that matter any taxes at all, if they don’t have much job security? General Motors also lied and deceived their employees in addition to laying them off. They were promised benefits and good pay, and didn’t receive anything. When this confronted them, Baby Ruth Corporation shut the doors and gave no comment. How can society function properly as a whole, when these types of things are occurring? Class is also an issue. Moore argues that class is a big part of tax raises and lay-offs. He states that the richest 1% in American society are white people, Adding to the inequality that Hooks feels.
In Hooks’ book, “Class Matters”, she gives us an elaborate description of how she struggled out of a poor, pay-check to pay-check, African-American family to go to a good university and nicer life with nicer things. She believed in the “American Dream”, though she was faced with many problems and obstacles like the time when she lent her friend her car and received it later than expected with a lot of damages and in really bad conditions. Much like that experience, Hooks describes another incident that occurred with the same friend at the clothing store. She was dressed appropriately and sophisticated, yet still looked upon and watched over with the perception of being a thief, only because she was African-American. She has to face this all of her life. Much like the corporations deceive their employees, society deceives her.
The downfall of the American Dream has occurred for many reasons. Economic Inequality, Corporate deceive, and Class difference are just a few. We as people and part of American society must look in ourselves and not contribute to what these big corporations and political figures are taking part of in order to pick up the American dream and form a more perfect union.