American Dream and Wealth Gap Essay

Total Length: 688 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Economics and Global Capitalism

The American Dream has always been tied to homeownership, yet homeownership has always been a prospect made possible through long-term loans made to credit-worthy applicants. For Main Street, this was mainly the case at least since the Baby Boomers came to age. For subsequent generations, predatory lending came about as the monetization of debt became another way for Wall Street to make money off Main Street. The American Dream prior to this was connected to the concept of upward mobility, but this too has been linked to the prospect of homeownership. Essentially, the American Dream has always been a dream about ownership of assets, of being at the minimum part of the middle class—a status that anyone could achieve in America so long as he was willing to work hard. Today, with globalization and the offshoring of manufacturing, the blowing of credit bubbles, the devaluation of the dollar, the rise of inflation, the turning of the economy from free market to command (thanks to central banking interventionist policy like quantitative easing), and the stagnation of wages, it is harder for the American Dream to seem possible.

As Kiersz (2015) shows using data from the St. Louis Fed, income inequality has gone up considerably over the past 40 years.
The top 1% in the country have seen their paychecks grow exponentially while the working class wages have barely moved. Meanwhile, food prices, health care, education, homes, cars, stocks, bonds—virtually everything has gone up. The wealthy can afford them, but the lower classes have to borrow or work two jobs just to maintain the status quo—and it is getting harder and harder to do that as inflation continues to be seen across the board, though wages for the middle and lower classes stay put.

The video uploaded by WarZalez (2011) entitled “The One Percent” shows that the top 1% of families own 40% of the nation’s wealth. That is an astounding figure and indicates the extent to which the wealth gap has grown in America. While most Americans are just working to get the car or the house or the vacation, the 1% own multiple homes, luxury cars, take vacations for entire years from time to time. For the 1%, the American Dream is an everyday reality. For the rest of the planet it is largely an illusion sold to them by creditors.

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Kiersz, A. (2015). The sad state of inequality in America in 12 charts. Retrieved from

WarZalez. (2011). The one percent. Retrieved from

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