“The ‘American Dream” is a crock. Stop wanting everything. Everyone should wear jeans, have three t-shirts, and eat rice and beans.” – Bill Hicks
So many American citizens are caught up in the idea of the “American Dream” and many are willing to do anything in order to achieve it. However I think the question we should all be asking is, “What exactly is the ‘American Dream’?” In writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson helped equivalate the “American Dream” to the full understanding and use of our inalieanable rights as American citizens. One of these rights, which most people focus on, is the pursuit of happiness and as a result the “American Dream” has changed from meaning a chance for a free and better life to being the excuse for people’s greedy and selfish desires. However I do believe that if we not only recognize the initial intent of the “American Dream”, but also learn to live within our means, then we can drastically improve the imposing debt issue and guarentee a better life for the generations to come.
The “American Dream” means many things for different people. For immigrants and thee older generation of Americans, it meant being married with 2.5 children and a 3 bedroom house behind a white picket fence with hopes of providing their family with a better life and the opportunity for success. Unfortunately, the “Dream” has now come to mean living in the biggest house, wearing the best clothes, having the newest gadgets, and driving the most expensive cars without considering the factor of affordability. Many children are growing up believing that the credit system was designed for them to live the lifestyle that they want now but cannot yet afford. These same children believe that being in debt is normal and later grow up with many financial problems. In a national survey done during 2003 and 2004, 21% of children between the ages of 12 and 18 owned their own credit card with little knowledge on its management and 50% of their parents agreed that these same children were under the impression that “money grew on trees”. In another survey done seven years later, statisticians found that about 20% of these young adults, now ages 19 to 25, complained of debt difficulties. Sadly, this is not suprising to me when all around us we see adults play the game of “keeping up with the Joneses”.
In addition to encouraging greediness, the modern definition of the“American Dream” gives many Americans the illusion that by borrowing money to get what they cannot afford, they are setting themselves up for success and happiness. However...