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The American dream as parents taught it to their children was that it encompasses home ownership, owning a car, marriage, and at least education two children. However, in recent years, all that has been challenged and people are having different opinions about the American dream topic (Goff, par 6). According to Goff, the change in design of livelihood and the change in the way of life has changed the mentality of many. In his argument, Goff states that the number of adults or couples living alone without children is on an increase. When compared to the traditional family setting, this modern set-up is seen to have more spending power (Goff, par 7). However, there still is the societal pressure of what is to be done by what age and how far someone can go to attain the societal demands. Shockingly, from Goff’s argument, that the American dream is likely to cost about one hundred and thirty thousand dollars per individual, translates to only one person in eight is to attain the dream. For that reason, the dream is unattainable to more than three-quarters of the American population.
Frank, on the other hand, brings the issue of income inequality that only helps a few individuals to attain the American Dream itself. According to Frank, in the past, the income gap was not that bad. In record, after world war II, the income increased by 3% annually, a time that saw a very vibrant middle class and an optimistic nation. However, things changed within a short time with income increment only being concentrated at the top management levels. For instance, income increment at the top rose from 8.9% in 1976 to a staggering 23.5% by the year 2007. In strengthening his argument, Frank uses Adam Smith’s (father of modern economics) book ‘a theory of moral sentiments’. He argues that smith’s pragmatic cost-benefit approach is fruitful than that of other philosophers. The pragmatic cos-benefit approach states that the income inequality rise is creating more losses than gains. Frank states that recent psychological well-being shows that as one goes up the ladder, spending increases. For that reason, the society has drawn clear expectations on how much an individual needs to spend on things and, as a result, this has created an expenditure cascades. The societal expenditure cascade dictates the amount to be used in spending of individuals in different status in the community. To Frank, the faster the income inequality growth rate the higher the financial distress. Where divorce and long commute are seen as some of the distresses. Eventually, he argues that it is not evident that the rise in income inequality has toll in the American dream however he concludes by saying it is a bad thing.
Goff Keli. “The American Dream Is Dead, and Good Riddance.” The Daily Beast. Web July 7. 2014. http://www.thedailybeast.com
Robert H. Frank “Income Inequality: Too Big to Ignore” web. October 16, 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/
Bob Herbert. “Hiding from Reality” NY times. Web. November 19, 2010http://www.nytimes.com/
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