The American Dream: This Isn't Your Parent's America
Written By: Christine Dantz
Today's American Dream isn't the same as it was for our parents and grandparents. Not only is it devolving, it's quickly slipping away, altogether, from many of us. If you are like me, a member of the often-neglected Generation X, you grew up during great economic times. However, those good times didn't continue to roll for most of us.
According to a new study (along with our own experiences to collaborate the numbers), the bottom 99 percent of American households are worth less today than they were in 1998.
These numbers are a part of the wealth inequality crisis in America and around the world that is out of control. For the U.S., an astonishing 74.6 percent of the country's wealth is held by 10 percent of all Americans.
(Generation Z: 2001-2014-Not much is decided yet about today's children as a whole, however, they will be the most tech-dependent generation on record-information taken from NPR's Samantha Raphelson.)
While I would never advocate income redistribution, it shouldn't be a stretch for the average American to see there is something wrong with these numbers. That is unless you don't mind being on par with the equality in the People's Republic of China, Putin's Russia, South Africa, and Brazil.
Generation Xers KNOW the gap has increased because we've watched it grow. Many members of our generation have returned to the part time jobs of their youth. Except now, you won't see as much happy chatter when we meet up on lunchtime meals that we counted down to during the summer breaks of our high school and college years. Whether it's a second job, or a fill-in job following the loss of a higher paying job, breaks rarely include a 'break.' Whether calling home to a spouse or children or completing everyday errands, the precious 30 minutes are regularly micromanaged.
You can manipulate numbers; however, raw data doesn't lie:
Where did the money go? In a 1989 survey, 5 percent of Americans held 54 percent of all wealth. By 2013, that amount increased to 63 percent of all wealth.
This isn't only an American trend—it's a worldwide problem. Of the $263 trillion world wealth, the report by Credit Suisse indicates 1 percent of the world population owns close to 50 percent of it all.
This trend doesn't show an end, with the projected number of millionaires in the world to increase from 35 million to 53 million before 2020.
How Did America Get Here?
Another recent study shows a majority of Americans earn under $20 per hour. Despite economic improvements, wages in America continue to stagnate. Based on data from the Department of Labor and Goldman Sachs, nearly 20 percent of workers earn less than $12.50 per hour.
In all, 51 percent of Americans earn a wage below $20 per hour. Out of the 49 percent remaining, only 19 percent earn $30 or more per hour.
Maybe the most important question is, "How does American fix this?"
Other Articles of Interest:
Unemployment's Down? Job Growth's Up?
Inflation, Deflation, and a Depression...Really?
Easier to Find a Payday Lender than a McDonald's
The Disappearing Act of the Magical Middle Wage Job
The Sharing Economy: The Information Age Brings Back the "We"
And Don't Forget to sign up for our Newsletter with all types of Great Ideas
We produce Stories and Articles about life in America - products made in the USA - to benefit America jobs. Buy American!