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The Great Recession and the American Dream

            What is the true state of the so-called "American Dream" today? Is it still around, waiting to be achieved by those who work hard enough, or is it effectively dead, killed off by the Great Recession and the economic hardships that many Americans have come to face? Statistics reveal alarming facts, including trillions of dollars lost in the stock market (Paradis, 2009). While these losses, combined with admittedly high unemployment in the past few years, have contributed to seemingly dismal prospects for prosperity in the United States, I believe that the ideals and values of the American Dream are still very much alive. In fact, the original term "Ameri­can Dream" was coined during the Great Depression by James Truslow Adams, who wrote that the American dream "is that.
             Brandon King is studying political science at the University of Cincinnati and plans to attend law school. He has always enjoyed writing pieces related to his major, particularly on the topics of eco­nomic inequality and political structures in the United States. He eventually hopes to enter a career in public service. King wrote this essay in 2011, for this book.
             dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability and achievement, regardless of social class or circum­stances of birth" (1931). I would redefine the American Dream today as the potential to work for an honest, secure way of life and save for the future." Many liberal economists and activists say that the American Dream is dead, but I say that it's more alive and important than ever-and that it is the key to climbing out of the Great Recession, overcoming inequality, and achieving true prosperity.
             Despite the harshness of the Great Recession, a 2009 New York Times survey found that 72 percent of Americans still believed it was possible to start poor, work hard, and become rich in America (Seelye, 2009).

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