20 Legitimate Reasons Why the American Dream Is Dead

Ephraim Obare
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Ladies and gentlemen, let’s gather around the metaphorical campfire and bask in the dimming light of the once brilliant beacon called the American Dream. That sweet promise of success through hard work, determination, and a dash of daredevilry now seems as elusive as a Yeti sighting.

A wistful whisper of “land of opportunity” now echoes in the canyons of monumental student debt, sky-high real estate prices, and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the not-so-rich. Let’s stroll down the pothole-ridden road. This journey will explore the 20 hard-hitting, indisputable reasons why the American Dream, as we know it, is nothing more than a dusty relic of the past.

Stagnant Wages

Stagnant Wages
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For decades, the average American’s income has remained virtually unchanged despite the cost of living skyrocketing. It’s like running a marathon where the finish line keeps moving further away.

Inequality

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The rich are getting richer, and the poor are, well, not winning the lottery. The divide is more of a chasm, widening every day.

Education Costs

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College tuition has morphed from an expensive necessity into a luxury item, making the “educated workforce” dream seem like a cruel joke.

Healthcare Crisis

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The cost of getting sick in America is enough to make anyone ill. You literally need a fortune to afford a misfortune.

Job Insecurity

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The promise of job stability has gone the way of the dodo bird, replaced by gig work and zero-hour contracts.

Housing Affordability

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Homes are becoming increasingly out of reach for the working class—unless you want to live in a shoebox. Want to own a house? You’d better start saving before kindergarten.

According to CNBC, the annual income required to buy a home in San Francisco alone is about $400,000.

Retirement Uncertainty

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It’s no longer safe to rely on a pension for retirement. The average 401(k) doesn’t look like it’ll be enough, and Social Security benefits are becoming more uncertain by the day. The golden years aren’t shiny, with retirement becoming a luxury few can afford.

Economic Instability

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The economy is a house of cards, with no guarantees of stability or return on investments. Markets may rise and fall unpredictably, leaving investors without the security they need. The rollercoaster ride of the economy makes planning a future as easy as nailing Jell-O to a tree.

Student Loan Debt

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Student loan debt is out of control. The average student leaves college with a staggering amount of debt and few options for paying it off. The burden of repayment can be overwhelming, and there are no guarantees that the degree will lead to a good job. It’s like an unwanted houseguest who refuses to leave, and it’s crippling millions.

According to the Education Data Initiative, pursuing a bachelor’s degree often has a hefty price tag. Students, on average, borrow over $30,000 to make their educational dreams a reality. It’s not just a handful of students facing this burden, but a staggering 45.3 million borrowers with student loan debt. And guess what? A whopping 92% of them hold federal loans. What’s genuinely eye-opening is the lasting impact of these loans. Even two decades after school, half of the student borrowers still carry outstanding loan balances of $20,000 each. Let that sink in. Let’s work towards a future where education is more accessible and affordable.

Climate Change

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Our planet’s health is in dire straits, threatening the future we’re supposed to be working toward. Climate change is an existential threat to the earth and humanity.

We must take urgent action if we want a safe and secure future for our children and grandchildren. We can start by reducing carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy sources.

Racial Inequality

Racial Inequality
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The American Dream is a lot harder to achieve if you’re not white. That’s not an opinion; it’s a statistical fact.

According to the Pew Research Center, whites (41%) have a higher likelihood of claiming to have achieved the American dream compared to blacks (17%) or Hispanics (32%).

Gender Wage Gap

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Women still earn less than men for doing the same work. Who knew the dream had a gender? In 2022, on average, women earned just 82% of what men got, according to a fascinating analysis by the Pew Research Center on median hourly earnings.

Cost of Living

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Everything costs more than it should, from groceries to gas, leaving less for the dream. It’s hard to get ahead if you spend all your money on necessities.

The cost of living is very high for American families, especially those in cities and states with higher costs.

Lack of Social Mobility

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If you’re born poor, the odds are stacked against rising above it. Seems the “Land of Opportunity” has some asterisks.

According to The Atlantic, the long-term poor often find themselves trapped at the bottom, while the long-term rich have a firm hold on the top. It’s a stark contrast that captivates our attention and calls for reflection.

The Vanishing Middle Class

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Living in the middle is getting more difficult, as well. Those stuck in between are often disadvantaged, with little room to improve their situation. The middle class is supposed to be America’s backbone, but it’s becoming more like a mirage.

Political Polarization

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Our nation is so divided it’s like we’re living in two different Americas. We live in increasingly divided times, as increasing polarization erases the middle ground.

This has led to a further polarization of society, with little room for compromise between rich and poor.

Corporations Over People

Corporations Over People
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The American dream looks like a nightmare when big businesses have more rights than individuals. The rich keep getting richer, while the poor seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of poverty. Corporate profits are skyrocketing, yet wages remain stagnant.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that corporations are more important than people, and this disconnect only widens the gap between haves and have-nots.

Automation and AI

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Robots are taking over jobs, making “job security” sound like a fairy tale. Asif, a LinkedIn job expert, says, “Job security is just a fairy tale now. Loyalty doesn’t mean anything anymore. You are just one email away from becoming a number on a spreadsheet.”

Immigration Policies

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In addition to automation, immigration policies are making it harder for people to move to the US for a better life. The “Golden Door” isn’t as welcoming as it used to be, making the dream of a better life inaccessible for many.

The Trump administration implemented various restrictions on immigrants, both legal and illegal. This makes achieving their dreams even more challenging for those without privilege or power.

Childcare Costs

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The cost of childcare is rising faster than wages, making it nearly impossible for many families to afford it. According to Investopedia, childcare costs can quickly gobble up many parents’ budgets yearly. Brace yourselves, folks, because the cost of childcare in the U.S. can range from $5,436 to $24,243!

These staggering costs mean that it’s nearly impossible for low or middle-income families to stay afloat while providing proper care for their families.

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10 Fundamental American Values on the Brink of Extinction

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Specific values have united us in the vast tapestry of American ethos. Courage, resilience, and ingenuity set the foundation for this great nation. Yet, as change persists, these cornerstone values waver, teetering on extinction.

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The Top 10 States Americans Are Moving Out From in Droves

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The United States has long been known as the land of opportunity, where people worldwide come to chase their dreams. But what happens when those dreams lead people away from their current location?

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The 12 Worst College Football Stadiums In America

Alamodome
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Welcome, fellow college football enthusiasts, to what’s arguably the most riveting tour of architectural disappointment you’ll ever take. Buckle up as we journey through the 12 most lackluster college football stadiums across the United States.

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Welcome, dear internet surfers, to the fascinating world of digital blunders! Have you ever clicked on a too-good-to-be-true deal or happily shared your email for a “free” holiday? Then you, my friend, are part of the exclusive club of those who’ve committed the 12 dumbest mistakes on the internet (yep, spoiler alert: almost all Americans are members!).

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Author

  • Ephraim Obare

    Ephraim Obare is a versatile member of the Frenz Hub writing team, bringing a rich background in economics to his work. An avid swimmer, reader, and cyclist, Ephraim blends analytical insights with his diverse interests.

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