The increasing student debt has started to harm the American Dream and the way that the middle class lives. This is one of the reasons why the middle class is shrinking because college tuition in 2013 increased 50 percent since 2000. As you can see from the graph college costs have risen 257% from the early 1980’s. Increases in financial aid have helped but only for those with the most need but what about the middle class families who take out loans and mortgages to help pay for their child’s tuition because middle class families are not able to gain as much financial aid because they earn too much to receive financial aid. Though I understand that schools are trying to give the aid to the most in need many middle class families are close to the cut off price and struggle because of the lack of financial aid. The college world is starting to turn on the middle class. It has been calculated that the average rate of intergenerational mobility has decreased over the years. The rising cost of tuition and the strict hold on financial aid the middle class college students are suffering from finding a job and paying off their debt.
Data gained by outside resource:
NC State University. “How Much Has Tuition Really Increased?” CALS News Center RSS. NC State University News Center, 09 Jan. 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2014.
Ragged Dick, written by Horatio Alger, considers the plight of the working class and how, if at all, it is possible to rise above their circumstances to ascend to middle and upper class statuses. Ragged Dick, the title character of the novel, is born into poverty and seems to be destined to remain impoverished. Dick, living hand to mouth, would squander his money from his job as a bootblack. However, through a series of opportunities and chance meetings of people, Dick is able to ascend to the ranks of middle class. Although Dick starts out in life seemingly destined to never rise above his poverty, he utilizes certain aspects of his character such as determination and honesty and couples those traits with chance meetings and opportunities to ultimately shake off his cloak of poverty and become a respectable man with profound potential. With the right qualities, opportunities, and character, Dick is able to assert himself into a higher socioeconomic class. Being popular and inserting yourself into society gives you more chances for opportunities to come your way. Still it depends on your character and personality to determine if you will take the chance to succeed or fail. Ultimately, Horatio Alger tells the story of a young man who, through hard work and determination, as well as a lot of luck and opportunities, is able to transcend the poverty to which he was born and elevate himself to a middle class status in which he could be comfortable, stable, and happy.
In the world today the American Dream is still obtainable though not like the book describes. The American Dream is more centered around the idea of economic stability than to reach the top tiers of the economic percentiles (talked about in an earlier blog). Though these days college has become a burden of debt that is necessary to be competitive in the job market. Which I will discuss more in my next post.
This is not the original video or commercial it was deleted from youtube. I wrote this post for the commercial I originally posted one that related to the examples I gave.
I’ve been seeing this commercial a lot and hadn’t realized until today that it related to the American Dream. The first video that I saw was not as long and didn’t talk about things he didn’t do. When looking into the video more I found this longer version and knew I had to write a post on it. Making a distinction between what he did and didn’t do has made it pertain even more to class. The video shows all the ways that people can make it to the top; trying to be someone your not to fit in and making connections, though you may not like the person behind the connection. Then the commercial hits you with hard work the ultimate American way to make it to the top. Vitamin Water’s slogan is hydrate the hustle which started out for exercise purposes, with this commercial they are shifting their focus to broaden the spectrum to reach all social classes with the American Dream and hard work.
Sorry to steal your image Dr. Rycroft but this was the image that struck me the most out of our readings and searches I conducted online. I had known that economic inequality had a huge gap because I have seen this image before in a previous class. Though I hadn’t remembered correctly the magnitude of difference that the top 20 percentile of citizens and the rest of citizens had between one another. What struck me as funny was having seen this image before and still believing what most Americans thought. Though I can’t decide if the chart, showing the actual view, should be considered a bad sign because without unequal distribution of wealth there wouldn’t be a lower class or an upper class. Without those differences we would become a socialist nation which I haven’t determined if that is a bad idea either. I would love to hear peoples thoughts on this topic. I know I am very ignorant in discussions of these topics but hopefully through discussions in class and on the blog I’ll gain more sound perspective.
I’m testing out some of the features and thought that I would add this as a learning experience/ entertaining/ chance to add a little personal information. I am personally a fan of Imagine Dragons and (fun fact) I have seen them in concert. I happened upon this song recently and it brought to mind the hope that some Americans and immigrants still have in the American Dream with lyrics like “Been a long time coming for the working man…….When the money is high, we can start to spend“. Bring up the hope and belief that comes with the American Dream. Another striking lyric to me is “I think this life is darker then the view”. The view is the dream or the light at the end of the tunnel and I believe that the artist is implying that, like the American Dream, your hard work will eventually pay off.
American Dream (my opinion of the description)- when first created was about making it to middle class and having a steady content life, not about the material gains in life. With time comes change and the Americans description of the American Dream has grown to more materialistic views since the term was coined.
Here’s a quick reason for why I created this blog: I am the owner of this blog and am a student at the University of Mary Washington. Creating a blog was a requirement for my freshmen seminar class called Inequality and the American Dream. We made one to bring up topics that we discus throughout the class. Though this is the main reason the blog was created, I have also created it to be a sort of journal of my time at UMW. Not about my social life but about the interesting topics and fun things that I do in my classes. I hope that others will join in to share their thought on topics or to share topics that would create interesting conversations!! I hope you have fun and enjoy this blog!!