Since the country’s establishment, the American Dream—the conviction that anybody, regardless of background, may achieve success and prosperity through labor—has been a pillar of American culture. The nation’s economic downfall has tested the American Dream since the Great Recession of 2008. The potential of realizing the American Dream has become more remote for many Americans due to job losses, pay stagnation, and increasing debt, making it more difficult for them to accumulate wealth and improve their quality of life. The failure of the American Dream as a result of the economic crisis will be examined in this article.
Event/turning point history
The American Dream offers hope for a better life and more chances for everyone and has long represented the country’s success. It was viewed as holding out the possibility of a place of abundance and opportunity, where tenacity and perseverance could result in success and a better life for future generations. Unfortunately, this hope was dashed when the United States experienced the National Economic Collapse of 2008. The economy had been growing, and the housing market was surging in the years before the crash. People were taking advantage of the low-interest rates by using mortgages that they could barely afford to make purchases of properties that they could not afford. Banks gave hazardous subprime loans to borrowers with terrible credit because they thought they could still profit from the default of the loans (Adler & William).
Wall Street companies simultaneously packaged and sold these subprime mortgages to investors, who thought they were secure investments. Unsustainable price increases and people taking on more debt than they could bear led to a “bubble” in the housing market. The bubble eventually popped when the subprime mortgage crisis struck, and borrowers started to fail on their loans in 2008. The housing market shrank, banks began failing, and the stock market fell, as a result, having an impact on the entire economy. The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which funded banks and other financial institutions to stabilize the economy, was implemented by the government in response to the crisis. Sadly, this was insufficient to stop the collapse.
The Great Recession of 2008 was a significant turning point in American history. It signaled the end of the American Dream for millions as they lost their homes, jobs, and money. It also emphasized the necessity of more stringent banking industry laws and improved Wall Street business oversight. The nation’s mentality was severely impacted by the collapse as well. It served as a wake-up call to the fragility of the American Dream and the realities of economic instability for many. It demonstrated that even the best-laid plans could fail occasionally and that persistence and hard work alone were insufficient to ensure success (Goodman, Laurie & Mayer).
A pivotal moment in American history, the National Economic Collapse of 2008, had a significant impact on the country and its citizens. It served as a sobering reminder of the limitations of the American Dream and the importance of being ready for anything. Despite this, the country’s and its people’s fortitude is evidence of the strength of the American Dream and its capacity to endure even the worst economic times. The ramifications of this event, which marked a significant turning point in American history, can still be seen today. It serves as a reminder of the value of sound financial management and stable economic conditions, as well as the reality that the promise of a better life is not always attainable. The National Economic Collapse of 2008 served as a wake-up call for the country, demonstrating that despite our best efforts, even the best set plans may go wrong.
The idea of the American Dream, sometimes defined as the conviction that perseverance and hard work may result in a better life, has long been a cornerstone of the country’s identity. Given that many Americans view accumulating wealth and being able to support their families as the ultimate aim, this idea has been inextricably linked to the idea of economic success. Unfortunately, millions of people’s financial stability have been severely affected by the recent economic meltdown, and for many, the failure of the American Dream has become a reality. Since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Great Recession, which started in 2008, has been the most prolonged and severe economic downturn. The recession’s impacts were felt widely, and in October 2009, the jobless rate peaked at 10%. Many Americans found themselves unable to make ends meet and provide for their families due to job losses and falling earnings. This was especially true for people who had just obtained mortgages during the housing bubble’s peak and were now in danger of going through foreclosure and losing their houses (Harrison & Lawrence).
The stock market also suffered from economic collapse; the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from a peak of 14,000 in 2007 to a low of 6,500 in 2009. Many people saw their nest eggs vanish suddenly after investing their savings in the stock market, leaving them with little to rely on in retirement. The loss of the American Dream was particularly apparent for individuals who had put in a lot of effort throughout their careers only to watch their life savings disappear due to the economic collapse. Since many jobs lost during the recession were not replaced, the economic slump also had a long-lasting effect on the labor market. As a result, many people are now obliged to accept positions that pay much less than what they were making before the collapse since it is difficult to locate work that offers a decent wage. The middle class has been weakened because those who could once support their families now have financial difficulties.
The widening gap between the rich and the poor is another sign that the American Dream has failed. The wealthiest 1% of Americans currently control more than 40% of the country’s wealth, while the poorest 50% own just 2.5%. The richest Americans, as a result, have been able to gain from the economic recovery while the poorest Americans are still living in poverty. Tragically, the financial meltdown has resulted in the breakdown of the American Dream, and it is evident that the country is still battling to recover from the harm caused by the recession. Many Americans still struggle to make ends meet despite losing their homes and jobs by the millions. The collapse of the American Dream serves as a sobering reminder of the fragility of the country’s economic structure and the necessity for fairer policies to guarantee that all Americans have the chance to achieve financial security.
For many American families, the failure of the American Dream in the wake of the financial crisis has been a painful blow. Millions of individuals have lost their jobs, houses, and money due to the economic crisis, leaving them with little to fall back on in difficult times. Many people now have few prospects for financial security due to the stock market crash and the housing market’s collapse, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor serves as a glaring reminder of the failure of the American Dream. Since the nation’s economy has been recovering slowly, it is more crucial than ever to ensure that everyone can become financially secure and support their families (Coskuner-Balli & Gokcen).
The idea of the American Dream, built on the conviction that anyone can succeed and prosper in the United States by working hard, has long been a pillar of the national identity. However, due to an economic collapse that has left many Americans struggling to make ends meet, achieving this ideal has become more challenging in recent decades. The United States economy suffered a tremendous hit from the Great Recession, which started in 2008, and millions lost their jobs. Despite the recovery that has taken place in the years since the recession, it is evident that the American Dream is out of reach for a significant portion of the population. The extraordinary levels of inequality that have taken hold in the United States are one of the most prominent indicators that the American Dream has failed in the wake of the economic meltdown. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans has significantly increased recently. Today, the country’s wealth is owned by just 1% of households in the lowest 50%, while the wealthiest 1% own more than 40%. Due to this inequality, only the most affluent members of society can realize the American Dream, leaving most people behind.
The economic crisis has also impacted the labor market, making it more challenging for workers to find excellent jobs. The unemployment rate in the United States is over 5%, the highest it has been in years. Because businesses have been hesitant to hire new employees due to the uncertain economy, there has not been much job growth, leading to a high unemployment rate. Additionally, many employees are forced into poverty due to the available occupations not always paying a living wage. The housing market has also suffered since the economic collapse and the job market. Millions of homeowners lost their homes in the 2008 housing crisis to foreclosure, as many of them could not make their mortgage payments due to job loss or declining income. Since many Americans cannot finance a home purchase, the rate of home ownership has decreased due to this crisis. Homeownership is a significant component of the American Dream for many individuals, which has also impacted it (Francis, Pope, & Ivereigh).
The economic crisis has significantly impacted the nation’s public education system. Due to declining tax revenue, several regions of the country’s schools have cut budgets, leaving fewer resources for teachers, fewer options for students to pursue further education, and fewer educational opportunities overall. Given that having access to quality education is essential to success, this has significantly impacted how many Americans can pursue the American Dream. The American Dream has been dramatically affected by the 2008 financial crisis. Many Americans have found it challenging to succeed due to rising inequality and a lack of job possibilities. Many people have found it challenging to buy homes due to the housing crisis, and students have found it more challenging to pursue higher education due to the reduction in public education funding. Following the economic collapse, each of these elements has played a part in the demise of the American Dream.
It is clear from the nation’s economic collapse that the American Dream was a failure. Many people are now in financial disaster due to the 2008 economic meltdown, which dealt the economy a fatal blow. Millions of Americans struggled to recover after losing their homes, jobs, and savings. For many people, achieving the American Dream of financial security, homeownership, and upward mobility was no longer possible. The loss of the American Dream is a straightforward consequence of the long-lasting effects this economic disaster has had on the American economy. Many people are still struggling to make ends meet because they were unable to recoup from the financial destruction caused by the crisis. The breakdown of the American Dream in the wake of the country’s economic catastrophe serves as a sobering reminder of how flimsy American economic stability is.
Harrison, Lawrence E. The Pan-American dream: do Latin America’s cultural values discourage true partnership with the United States and Canada? Routledge, 2018.
Goodman, Laurie S., and Christopher Mayer. “Homeownership and the American dream.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 32.1 (2018): 31-58.
Adler, William M. Land of opportunity: One family’s quest for the American dream in the age of crack. University of Michigan Press, 2021.
Francis, Pope, and Austen Ivereigh. Let us dream: The path to a better future. Simon and Schuster, 2022.
Coskuner-Balli, Gokcen. “Citizen-consumers wanted: Revitalizing the American dream in the face of economic recessions, 1981–2012.” Journal of Consumer Research 47.3 (2020): 327-349.