Monday, June 09, 2008

American Dream "Wounded"

Says the usually sunny USA Today.

"Work hard, play by the rules and tomorrow will be better than today. That implicit promise has been at the core of the American Experience through good times and bad.
But now, whipsawed by plummeting home values, $4-a-gallon gas, rising food prices and gyrating financial markets, Americans increasingly fear that the national bargain has unraveled, that their once-steady march toward affluence has derailed. In a new USA TODAY poll, 54% of those surveyed say their standard of living is no better today than five years ago.
"Fewer Americans now than at any time in the last half-century believe they're moving forward in life," concluded a recent report by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center.
The USA TODAY respondents were more upbeat about the prospects for improvement in the next five years, but only 45% expect their children to live better than they do.

"I don't think it is going to be as easy for them. They're going to have to pay back a tremendous debt load. … I just don't see the opportunities being there," says Matt Gwynne, 63, a retired executive in Angier, N.C


"My American dream almost came true
But the things they promised me never came through
I believe in the American dream
But things are never quite what they seem"

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, this just proves my point. This generation is not a lucky one. Being lazy and apathetic worked in the 1950s-1990s, but the gig is up. Our lazy culture was not in sync with our global times. Too many Chinese, Indians and Europeans are competing with us, and from what I saw of Europe, America will come in a sorry 5th or 6th place. Why do think that activism will help now when it didn't help during times of plenty? Things are only getting worse with little money to go around. No one wants to share their money. Hopefully, you were born rich, or you are screwed. Maybe a few people will get rich. For example, if you are a computer genius like Gates, or you can play a sport like Michael Jordan or you are one of the few actors that "make" it. The rest of us 98% will slowly see our prosperity erode. We are mostly to blame. The generations have become more and more apathetic as time has gone on. Today's young people just want to have fun and connect with other idiots. This will not bring prosperity. A professor of mine from Harvard told me that young Americans in the future will be boarding ships to work in factories in India and China 6 months of the year to survive. Yes, they can bring their I-Pods. Hopefully they can maintain their facebook connnections as well. Why do today's young people think that surfing the web and using Facebook will help them compete against people with real knowledge and skills? What a silly childlike culture we have become. It's really sickening.

Richard

lauksvai said...

young Americans in the future will be boarding ships to work in factories in India and China 6 months of the year

Does your professor from Harvard know that companies can build new factories in other countries, including the United States? And that the stuff the factories produce can then be shipped out from that country?

Shawn C. Speakman said...

Richard: Some of us "kids" work hard and wholly lack the lazy condemnation you've placed on an entire generation. I am university educated, smart, hard-working, don't have an iPod, don't use Facebook for fun purposes, and surf the web when I need to find a new and fun restaurant to try out.

And there is no way I can build a future without things changing in this country. None. Zero. I will work hard and strive hard and play by "all the rules," but in the end the way this economy and country are going I will not have the ability to make a sincerely better life for myself. I will be able to survive, and that's it. This is all correlated to decisions this government has made merely in seven years!

You are right in some ways but scarily wrong in others.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shawn.
A lot of what makes someone succeed or fail is who you know. If you weren't born rich, don't have rich, influential friends, then you probably will not become rich anymore. There is one exception that I see. You could use globalization. You could start a car wash and hire illegal workers, give them a few dollars an hour. Then one carwash turns into two, etc.. You could start a landscaping or janitorial business and do the same thing. Use the unfairness of the system against itself. If you don't exploit those workers, then someone else will. There is a huge pool of "slave laborers" just ready to break their back for 6 bucks an hour. Give your clients "dates" with high priced call girls or others, and you could beat out your competitor. This is "survival of the fittest". Don't worry about morals or ethics. No one else is either, believe me. Go visit any McDonalds. The big corparations have been doing this stuff for years. How do you think the olympics came to Atlanta. This is not the era of working for someone else and making money. All of the money funnels to the top. The employers pay you just enough to string you along. You have a choice screw others or be screwed yourself. Exploit or be exploited! Don't pay health insurance hire your workers as independent contractors and F--- them if they get injured! They shouldn't even be here in the first place, right? This is our system and how it works. You either become a shark or you are a little minnow. Watch "Sopranos" and learn about human nature. This is the best advice that I, as an older successful type, can give to a young buckeroo like yourself. Education doesn't mean shit with so many kids going to college. Do you think they are all intellectuals? You have to be smart and ruthless to succeed in these parts. We are not living in Scandinavia, and no one will "save" you if you fail. Good luck and sharpen your teeth. A few will succeed and most will fail in the future, and you have to decide which one you'll be.

Good luck!
Richard