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Rise to the Challenge

America is not the greatest country in the world. Whether this statement is true or not, there are
reasons to support whether it is the greatest or not. So what makes America so great? What do people
pursue today in America? What makes it so special than the rest of the countries? Millions of people have
migrated to America for one thing, and one thing only- the American Dream. America is widely known and
respected for its wide range of diversity, equality, opportunity, and freedom others wouldnt be able to
achieve in their homeland. The real question, however, is do all people have the same opportunities to
achieve that Dream? Not only will my argument prove there are privileges and entitlements to the Dream
based off of social classes, employment, and successes, but I will also point out how it relates to society
and the economy.
The American dream is a reality. It is the pursuit of prosperity that drives people to push beyond
their limits in order to achieve their goals and have a successful life through perseverance. The dream is
meant to give opportunities of achievement despite prejudices. The American Dream is depicted as Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. The constitution itself made this possible, however, there are still
barriers that make achieving the dream seem unattainable.
One third of Americans in their twenties are working full time. Jobs are requiring more skill and a
vast majority of Americans, today, are finishing high school and only one fourth are receiving a college
bachelors degree. Few of those graduates manage to get a degree in science, technology, engineering
or math, in which a majority of jobs can be found.
Because of this, more than one in three young adults still live with their parents and many face
depression. Census Department data indicate young workers are now on average 30 when they reach
an income level of $42,000, considered a marker for financial independence. In 1980, the age was 26.
(Dilenschneider, Robert)
The unemployment rate has dramatically increased, according to the data. Currently there are
about 9.5 million people who are unemployed today. From this pull, 7.8 percent are hispanics and 10.7
are African Americans. The numbers are significantly higher for people under 30. What most stood out
was young people are set up for debt and have limited options to advance in their careers.

Some of the contributing factors are due to having an imbalance in the global economy in which
there is an immense gap between the number of people looking for jobs and the number of available jobs.
America has had a weak economic recovery in which increased the curtailing demand for new jobs.
Because of the technological improvements, we have lost a numerous amount of jobs. Workplaces are
the increasing number of years in the workforce and there have been insufficiencies in job training and
In order to reduce unemployment and develop job skills, educators and business leaders need to
join together and find ways to help students enhance their education and connect to the field of work they
are looking to go into. Community colleges should reach out to local businesses to determine what their
workforce needs are. Few colleges have already teamed with local colleges and universities to develop
curriculum and training that assists engineers and others specialists precisely designed to fit the
companys needs. This is model that could be replicated throughout the world.
Is the American Dream still attainable? Americans may have lost hope and now believe people,
who work hard, still have a hard time maintaining their standard of living and cannot get ahead of
government policies that puts the middle class at a disadvantage. Americans expect they will have to
work harder to achieve their goals and believe the same goes for future generations. Many Americans are
now calling to the federal government to increase the minimum wage and provide job training/ education.
Only few people are able improve their way of life through hard work compared to those who are well
connected and wealthy.
America in the 70s was the decade in which prosperity was distributed equally among social
classes. After the 80s, however, Americas first Great Recession brought an end to conservative working
class. Americas prosperity was the endpoint of our economys development. Following the end of World
War II, the United States was the only country to rise with an economic expansion due to its industrial
capacity largely affected by the oil embargo in 1973. So what makes people fall under the middle class,
anyway? Most importantly, its income. According to Pews Research, two thirds to two times the national
median income for your household size. This includes a vast majority of the population besides 20% of
the poor and 20% of the wealthy- its an uneven distribution.

Middle class households earning two-thirds to double the national median fell from 62%
percent to 45 percent. Last year, the wealthiest 1 percent took in 19 percent of Americas income their
highest share since 1928. (McClelland, Edward) The shrinking of the middle class was a result of failure
of government. Capitalism isnt the issue. Capitalism concentrates on wealth in the ownership class, while
providing workers with just enough wages for peoples needs.
The United States may never again be as wealthy as it was in the past. Before, you could fill out
an application and get an interview the same day, but 18 year olds, now, cant graduate from high school
and directly go into jobs that pay well enough to buy a house and support a family. Most jobs now
demand a few years in junior college. The federal government began to pay less attention to the economy
where Americans began to need it more since the Great Depression.
Fewer than half of all Americans say the country has made substantial progress toward racial
equality and about the same say that a lot more remains to be done. About two-thirds of black
respondents and a quarter of whites say blacks are not treated as fairly as whites in the courts. A majority
of blacks and smaller share of Hispanics say their groups get along. A third of all blacks say they had
been discriminated against or treated unfairly because of their race in the past year, as do 20% of
Hispanics and 10% of whites.Blacks were six times more likely as white men in 2010 to be incarcerated in
federal and state prisons. Between household income and household wealth, the gaps between blacks
and whites have widened.
Throughout 1967 and 2011, the median income of a black household rose from about $24,000 to
nearly $40,000. Black households normally earn about 59% of what white households earn, a small
increase from 55% in 1967. But when expressed as dollars, the black-white income gap widened, from
about $19,000 in the late 1960s to roughly $27,000 today. The race gap on household wealth has
increased from $75,224 in 1984 to $84,960 in 2011. (Pew Research)
White adults 25 and older are significantly more likely than blacks to have completed at least a
bachelors degree.The black completion rate as a percentage of the white rate has improved from 42%
then to 62%. Historic candidacies of Barack Obama, blacks nearly caught up with whites in 2008 and
surpassed them in 2012, when 67% of eligible blacks cast ballots, compared with 64% of eligible
whites.(Pew Research)

Pew Research Center survey finds that since 2009, there has been a fading of the heightened
sense of progress that blacks felt immediately after Obamas election in 2008. Only a small percentage of
blacks who have attended at least some college say the situation of black people in this country is better
today than it was five years ago. Among those with a high school education or less, roughly one-third say
things are better.
America is still deeply admired around the world. America continues to be the place where many
people want to live out their dreams,despite any setbacks that keeps Americans from achieving their
dream. Americas greatest days may be behind us, but that doesnt conclude America is not the greatest
country in the world anymore.
The American Dream was inspired by the middle class. The result of World War II was the
triumph of democracy. Can we move up from a social class? The promise was an opportunity to the good
life through hard work, especially with racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and women. But a broad
middle class and a broadly shared prosperity provided the possibility of a way up. Now that middle class
is sinking, due to the economy, it is more difficult to go up for working people. Millions of Americans are in
need of full-time work, wages are declining and one in six people live in poverty. Corporations continue to
ship good jobs abroad, making it harder to find a job near home. Health Care costs are soaring, with
nearly 50 million uninsured. Half of all Americans have no retirement plan at work, pensions are
disappearing. Social Security and Medicare have been targeted for cuts as well. College debt is now
exceeding credit card debt, in which more students are priced out of a higher education.
Many are worried the next generations will be left behind by the United States decline. Our
unemployment rates have gone up as well as trade deficits and corruption. India and China are even
outpacing us through technology and manufacturing capability. Lets face it, America has faced
challenges having a growing deficit, a crumbling infrastructure and unsustainable spending.
What makes America so great then? We have a market-oriented economy. Our inventions come
from our labs, universities, and even from our homes. We inspire growth.Our reading and math scores
may be low, and our dropout rates may be high, but when it comes to higher education, we have more
successes. Most of the top universities are in the United States. We have won multiple Nobel prizes in
critical fields such as physics, medicine, chemistry, and so forth.

The United States has the largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world, a
per capita gross domestic product of $47,200 and a gross national purchasing power that equals those of
China and Japan. Our national economy is bigger than those of Russia, Britain, Brazil, France and Italy
combined. (Tim, Roemer)
Immigration is looked bad upon in America, but in fact, it enhances competition.25 percent of
U.S. tech and engineering start-ups between 1995 and 2005 had one or more immigrant key founders,
whose companies collectively generated an estimated $52 billion in 2005 sales and created nearly
450,000 jobs. (Tim, Roemer)
Tim Roemer once asked plenty of business millionaires Which market would you most like to
access?. In agreement, the answer was the United States. Many Americans today may have lost pride or
may have forgotten how great the US is. U.S. companies still remain world leaders in information from
technology to sciences.They were able to reinforce the perspective of Americas image and continue to
better our economy.
America has cultivated the worlds greatest economy and great artists, cured diseases. We
aspired to intelligence. Although the middle class is sinking, the American Dream helps us to aspire to
work harder. Everyone can achieve it. With hard work we are able to go up in class. Blacks had an unfair
advantage compared to whites, but because of our political elections, blacks were able to get a higher
representation. The American Dream, in my opinion, isnt a race, nor a social class factor. Being a
minority or even being stuck in the middle class allows us to challenge ourselves and better ourselves as
a society. Without stressing to the government and bringing up such inequalities and issues toward
political elections, we cant get anywhere.

Annotated Bibliography
1. Borosage, Robert L., and Katrina Vanden Heuvel. "THE AMERICAN DREAM: Can A
Movement Save It? (Cover Story)." Nation 293.15 (2011): 11-15. Academic Search Premier. Web.
11 Nov. 2015.
Borosages article The American Dream addresses setbacks from achieving the American Dream. Not
only that, but it focuses on the middle class, and how their value is sinking in society, making it difficult to
go up. Besides addressing the economic collapse, it provides movement on how to challenge the Dream

and call activists together and demand reforms and effort from society. An advantage of the article is that
it provides examples of initiatives of what people can do to change the dramatic decrease in the economy.
I feel like this source is useful because it convinces people the need for a reform and would be credible to
my audience. Also, it is based on politics and how movements should get through to presidency to form a
change. Because it attracts political parties and presidency, I feel like my audience will be more aware
that the American Dream is more valued to those who migrate to America although it is something we all
work for.
2. Dilenschneider, Robert L.,"Youth, Jobs And The American Dream." Vital Speeches Of The Day
80.9 (2014): 303-305. History Reference Center. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.
Dilenschneiders article, Youth, Jobs and The American Dream, focuses on younger generations and
employment. Employment rates and statistics further portray how it affects the global economy and
weakens the American Dream.
An advantage of the article is the percentages and surveys recorded to help strengthen their article. Not
only does it provide statistical numbers, but it also provides feedback on how to attain the American
Dream once again. Therefore, the article credibility is strengthened and followed by ways to improve our
global economy and employment.I feel like this source is useful because it focuses on the younger
generation, including myself, which gives me a better perspective as well. The unemployment rates,
income, and level of education will help support my point of what is expected to achieve the American
3. McClelland, Edward. "RIP, the Middle Class: 1946-2013." They Say / I Say: The Moves That
Matter in Academic Writing. By Gerald Graff. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 549-560. Print.
McClellands section , RIP, the Middle Class, helps portray an unequal distribution amongst social
classes. It focuses on government, rather than capitalism. An advantage of this chapter is that there are
plenty of factors that affect the middle class, not just income. Some examples include education, capital,
labor, and economy. Over time, it is harder to go up.
I feel like this source is useful because it suggests the middle class cant be sustained with the free
market. It will help support my point that without any form of action, the middle class will stay where they
are and go through economical struggles.
4. Pew Research. Kings Dream Remains an Elusive Goal. They Say/ I Say: The Moves That
Matter in Academic Writing. By Gerald Graff. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 627-37. Print.
Pews Research, Kings Dream Remains an Elusive Goal, helps reflect different aspects about racial
equality. Charts and graphs are portrayed on not only racial aspects, but households, income, and

marriage rates as well. An advantage of this chapter is that it is a collection of surveys and government
statistics. Therefore, it provides facts and credibility.
I feel like this source is useful because it compares racial groups and equality over the years. Because it
focuses on the perceptions of change, I believe this will provide physical evidence as to what happened
over the course of time.
5. Roemer, Tim. "America Remains the World's Beacon of Success." They Say / I Say: The
Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. By Gerald Graff. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010. 618-22.
Roemers section, America Remains the Worlds Beacon of Success, focuses on advantages we have in
the US. Our economy is stronger than other countries. He also focuses on how addressing certain issues
will need to involve leadership. An advantage of the chapter is the author has his own perspective as a
US ambassador. Many people still admire America and is a place where people want to live.
I feel like this source is useful because it describes that the American Dream is ongoing. People continue
to migrate to America and want a better future. By recognizing this, it will help explain the actual definition
of the American Dream and what people set out for in the US.