The Republican politicians often say that America is the greatest country in the world. American exceptionalism is another term that is often used. Exactly what do they mean? Are we truly exceptional? Are we unique unto ourselves? Are we so great that no other country in the entire world can compare? What do you think?
There is one area where we outrank all other countries. Can you guess what it is? It's not something we should be bragging about, though.
United States Is Now the Most Unequal of All Advanced Economies
That's where we are exceptional! Sickening isn't it? The economic inequality is the sharpest in the good old USA. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-zuesse/us-is-now-the-most-unequa_b_44...
We hear the voices on the Right claiming that people can rise from poverty on their own merits if they just work hard enough. Senator Marco Rubio says that America has “never been a nation of haves and have-nots. We are a nation of haves and soon-to-haves, of people who have made it and people who will make it.” http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/economic-inequality-it-s-far-w...
Horatio Alger told many rags to riches stories that captured the American spirit. But, sadly, those stories are rare today. When politicians place undue emphasis on individuals pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps, they ignore the economic conditions that perpetuate this inequality. These are the essential determinants of success: inheritance, social connections, and structural discrimination. These realities are challenging for anyone to overcome.
Before anything of substance can change, we have to accept the economic reality before us. Most people don't want to be poor and live off welfare. Most people want a job. Helping people get off welfare and get a decent job will only help our economy grow. And most of all, trickle down is a failed economic theory.
The American Dream has become the American Nightmare for many. Wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few while the rest struggle to make a living. Can we summon the fortitude to rethink the American Dream? My dream is not that everyone of us becomes a millionaire.
My dream is that everyone has equal opportunity to get a good education, find a good paying job, live in a decent neighborhood, and enjoy quality healthcare and the fruits of their labors. This is doable. But, first we must accept the extent of our exceptionalism in the economic inequality area and find the will to make the necessary changes. This article, written in 2009, tells an interesting tale of the evolution of the American Dream: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2009/04/american-dream200904
Let's rethink it and then work to make it available to all.