NPR is running a series right now on the American dream and, more importantly, how the American dream is- for all intents and purposes- dead. The idea that you can graduate from high school, go onto earn your college degree, land a good paying job, meet/fall in love/marry someone, buy a house in a safe neighborhood, have children, provide for those children while still being able to afford to take a family vacation once a year and then retire before you're too old to enjoy retirement is just not a reality for the majority of people anymore.
I know it's not a reality for our family.
I was lucky enough to go to college, but am now saddled with so much student loan debt it barely seems worth it some days... we have access to a wonderful school for Eva to attend, but it consumes over one third of Jason's entire annual salary to send her there... there are tons of houses to be purchased in this market, but we'd have no way of saving up $30,000 for the required down payment... we have health insurance, but it's truly just catastrophic coverage, putting us one medical emergency away from being destitute... and we're the fortunate ones! We are the middle class that so many Americans aspire to. How sad that not only has the true American dream died, but what has crept in is a cheap replacement- a feeling of being relieved if you aren't unemployed and homeless. People shouldn't just pray they don't end up with no place to work or live, we should be outraged that we're bailing out corporate bankers while someone working 40 hours a week at minimum wage cannot afford an apartment in any state in the country! We should be livid that millionaires are being given tax breaks while our public school systems are so shamefully under-performing that in less than a generation all of the brightest minds in our country will only be here via immigration, not birth!
I don't know how to fix the current situation, but I believe with all my heart that it's not through more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Trickle down economics is the greatest lie this country was ever fed and it amazes me that with all the data available, people still believe it works. It doesn't. It never did and it never will.
Click through the photos below to get an idea of just how sad a situation our nation is in: