Economy, Regs, & Taxes

The American Dream Needs a Comeback

A new study shows its collapse for Millennials.

Paul Albaugh · Dec. 13, 2016

Most Americans and many people seeking to become citizens of the United States are familiar with the phrase “the American Dream.” Many people have achieved it. Others have failed and some haven’t been able to experience even a glimpse of this dream due to a variety of circumstances. One of those “circumstances” is eight years of Barack Obama and his failed economic policies. So as he heads for the exit, it’s worth considering just how much help is needed for the American Dream.

The American Dream is collapsing for young adults (a.k.a. Millennials). A new study conducted by Raj Chetty of Stanford University along with economists and sociologists from Harvard and the University of California Berkeley uses the term “absolute mobility” to equate to the American Dream. In other words, do young people make more than their parents did?

The study reveals that only half of the children born in America after 1980 grew up to earn more than their parents did after adjusting for inflation. At first glance those numbers might not seem so surprising. But when compared with 1940, when 92% of children were able to earn more than their parents, it really puts things into perspective as to what kind of shape the American economy is in.

Perhaps even more interesting is the researchers’ conclusion — that rising income inequality has eroded the ability of children to grow up and earn more than their parents. Yes, you read that right. The “real” bogeyman here is a favorite of leftists everywhere.

For children born in the 1980s, the researchers say the bottom 10% of wage earners have seen their mobility decline the least. Children of those in the top 10% will have a difficult time earning more than their parents did, but children of those in the middle class will have the most difficulty.

The researchers’ idea of fixing this income inequality is, of course, by redistributing wealth. That’s right — more of the same failed Obama policies.

Obama’s guise of “Hope and Change” resulted in despair and stagnation. Despite Obama’s and his media cohorts blubbering that the economy has recovered and is surging forward, facts and reality indicate otherwise.

A new analysis conducted by senior Gallup economists completely contradicts Obama’s delusional remarks. They state, “There is no recovery. Since 2007, U.S. GDP per capita growth has been 1%. The Great Recession may be over, but America is dangerously running on empty.” Granted, when Obama took office the economy was not doing well at all, but after many promises and nearly $1 trillion in “stimulus” spending, we are left with the worst economic recovery — if we can even call it a “recovery” — since World War II.

Gallup’s report further notes, “Learning has stagnated. Fewer new businesses are being launched. More workers are involuntarily stuck in part-time jobs or out of the labor force entirely.” Among other things, Americans’ general health conditions are declining. In addition, total national spending on housing, education, and health care has increased significantly from 25% of income in 1980 to 36% last year with no appreciable gains and improvements.

The report also declares that the “deterioration in large, vital sectors of the economy is far from inevitable, but rather an entirely reversible outcome that can be linked to specific policies, rules and regulations that have arisen and accumulated after decades of weak political leadership — often at the state and local levels — and lobbying by interest groups.”

But wait — Obama repeatedly claims that under his administration 800,000 manufacturing jobs were created. Wrong. Even the Leftmedia flagship Washington Post fact checked this assertion as wrong.

No doubt, the election of Donald Trump provides many Americans a new sense of hope at being able to achieve the American Dream. For that to happen, Trump must set out to repeal Obama’s damaging economic policies.

As for the rising income inequality that’s supposedly causing the American Dream to vanish, people need to be reminded that the promise of America is equal opportunity, not equal results.

National Review’s David French points to other reasons that the American Dream is dying, most of which are cultural issues that We the People, not the government, need to rectify. French highlights that most prosperous people have intact families who “delay childbearing until after marriage, complete their educations, get married, and stay married.” On the other hand, many poor families “have children out of wedlock, struggle to finish school, and divorce or remain unmarried at much greater rates.”

As French notes, kids who come from broken families experience trauma and “government can’t fix trauma. Government can’t make a man and woman stay together.” In economic terms, what does all of this mean? French says, “In real terms, it means that our nation is changing. We’re producing a generation of poor and working-class young people who are less equipped to take advantage of economic opportunity and a generation of upper-middle-class kids who are fully prepared to enjoy the fruits of the world’s most potent and innovative economy.”

So despite Obama’s eight years, the American Dream is still achievable — even for those born in the 1980s or later. But it will be achievable only if we strive to focus on our own families and teach our children how to become productive, upstanding citizens and to take nothing for granted.

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