American Nightmare

Concept of “American Dream” is false, benefits already wealthy people

The “American Dream,” where you come from nothing, but you pull yourself up by the bootstraps and you work hard, then you become rich and happy. Everyone has an equal opportunity for success and it sounds great, right? Well, the United States is by far not the worst place to be. That being said, the American Dream is absolutely not true, and could actually be harmful in some cases.

First, Americans born in poverty have very little chance to rise above. According to NPR, the amount of children earning more than their parents has severely declined. Roughly 90% in the 1970s has declined to 50% in the 2010s. Not only this, but the increasing wage gap and the fact that 4% of working families are still in poverty only further proves that hard work is not proportional to wealth. The American poverty trap is very real, which is institutionalized in the economy. Take “trickle-down economics,” in which it actually justifies more tax cuts for the wealthy. By creating more jobs, they are entitled to more tax cuts by the government, which does not promote proportional spending or equal investments for the workers. This superficially seems to be a win-win situation, in which more jobs are created and people make more money. By taking a deeper dive, we can see that this only benefits the millionaires and billionaires profiting off the businesses.

Our current billionaires like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg were born wealthy. Elon Musk’s parents were by no means poor, as his father was an engineer and his mother was a nutritionist. Zuckerburg’s father was a successful dentist, who gave Mark a $100,000 loan to start Facebook. These billionaires we praise as “self-made” are not as they seem.  Many are already wealthy, and simply had more opportunities to make more money because of their elevated status. We can see these billionaires and corporations actively changing the scientific landscape. Take into account Tufts School of Nutrition Science, in which they made a compass of comparing Kellogg’s cereals to others, in which they stated that “Frosted Mini-Wheats” were “to be encouraged” and that “chicken filet, grilled” was “to be moderated.” The problem is that not only is this factually untrue and unhealthy, promoting the eating of sugary cereals, Kellogg’s is also one of Tufts sponsors. Brands like Kellogg’s are major funders behind food science, in which they can essentially extort nutrition science companies into saying that Kellogg’s extremely sugary cereals are healthy, with the threat of pulling funding. These corporations and billionaires are not your friends, and will do nearly anything to keep making money. This is not only extremely harmful for both consumers, but also for the American economy as they actively lie to promote their own products. These lies cater to the interests of the top 1%, which only increases the pay of the top 1% at the expense of the health of the people they sell to. The billionaires are quite literally poisoning people to make money.

Not only this, but the American Dream also pushes the harmful stereotype of how poor people are lazy and if they put in hard work, they could be richer. While this may be true in a select few cases, until wages and employment opportunities increase, the American economic system is essentially rigged against the poor. It is nearly impossible for those in poverty to both battle inflation as well as lobbying to prevent the increases of wages. The corporations make more and more money while paying their workers as little as they can get away with while making the CEOs and shareholders richer. While this itself is a facet of capitalism, it is an undeniable fact that in the current American economy, the poor will almost always stay poor.