Herbert believes that nothing much is left with the American dream since the country is in bad shape (564). He stated that looking at the country’s economy, the available jobs, the kind of education offered in public schools, the present warfare in the overseas market including the budget deficits will lead to a conclusion that U.S. is no longer what used to be called the land of milk and honey. For the past decade, the standard of living in the U.S. has significantly declined and it is unfortunate that it will be the younger generation who will inherit all these problems (Herbert 575). Despite reality, Americans continue to pretend to be blind with the actual decaying economic system of the country. It is perceived that it will take several years before the country’s employment level will kick in and to see growth in the U.S. financial system.
In fact, the report of the Pew Hispanic Center has revealed that after the culmination of the Great Recession of June 2009, there are many foreign-born employees based in America who were able to take advantage of the 656,000 available jobs; however, it is a disadvantage for the native-born employees in the country since 1.2 million jobs have disappeared (Herbert 575). However, despite the rise in the recruitment of immigrants covering such period, there were also the same employees who have undergone an extreme decline in their revenues.
It is unfortunate that America suffered an setback after the 9/11 terrorist attack because the country’s ability to maintain its position in the global affairs have become an important aspect of national interest since many countries all over the world have depended on the U.S. as the principal supplier of public goods (Lieber 9). Hence, urgent problems involving the national security and public safety, terrorism and threats from militant Islam groups have added to the decline in the economic standing of the country.
In the article of Spiegel Online International, it was stated that the American dream has ended as some of the U.S. citizens leave their states. One example is the state of Florida in the year 2009 when its population had significantly dropped by 58,000. In fact, there are American families who belong to the middle class who planned to retire in in their states but found themselves queuing before soup kitchens for free meals (Spiegel Staff, “A Superpower in Decline: Is the American Dream Over?”). In the southwest coast part in Lee County in Florida, records have shown that there are an approximate number of 80,000 individuals who depend on the government for food stamps for survival. The number of people who rely on food stamps in this particular locality has increased to four times since 2006. In addition, the unemployment rate has experienced a sharp increase which represents the degeneration of the America Dream for some people. It can be attributed to the fact that majority of the Americans lived beyond their means for the past years. They have taken for granted what they believed that their country was the promise land, or the culture driven by the mantra of entitlement. Hence, it is important to remember that they have to strive on their own, regardless of the promised opportunities without taking consideration of all the risks involved (Spiegel Staff, “A Superpower in Decline: Is the American Dream Over?”).
Herbert stated that the great task of the American people today is to change the direction and to turn around the giant ship of state (330). In order to improve the economy of the country, there is a need to correct the imbalance in the payment of taxes among the citizens by dismantling the programs that are disadvantageous to the poor. The recent developments in the economic standing of the country resulted from the stripping of assets for the country, while the tax schemes favor those who are wealthy to the detriment of average income American. In addition, one way to combat poverty is by waging an all-out war against ignorance (Herbert 331). Hence, each young American should be given equal opportunities for education. It can be pointed out the racism and discrimination is still being practiced in the country as many African American youngsters who perform well in school are being shunned of opportunities because the school administrators prefer white students.
The upward mobility in terms of the economy and international standing of the United States in the world market will improve if every citizen will work to bring a real change in the country. This can be done by participating during elections and to vote for the people who can truly serve the people and the nation. Every American can take an active part to change society for the greater good. The feelings of helplessness and depression should not hinder the hope that the nation can continue to become the American Dream to people from all over the world. There must be a heightened awareness on the part of the people to increase civic participation to be able to turn the ship of the U.S. back to the right direction (Herbert 334).
Herbert, Bob. Hiding from Reality. The Opinion Pages. NewYorkTimes.com. November 19,
2010. Web. April 22, 2013.
Herbert, Bob. Promises Betrayed: Waking Up from the American Dream. New York: Times
Books, 2005. Print.
Lieber, Robert J. Power and Willpower in the American Future. New York: Cambridge, 2012.
Spiegel Staff. “A Superpower in Decline: Is the American Dream Over?”. Spiegel Online
International. 2010. Web. April 23, 2013.