When did the American Dream go bad?
The American Dream is in bad shape.
It should be. Why? The American Dream as we know it today is VERY different from the American Dream of pre-WW2 Americans. What’s different?
Today’s dream is defined as landing a good, stable job, owning a nice house (in the suburbs), and a retirement account.
Prior to WW2? It was defined as economic independence. In most cases that meant a home that paid for itself and a couple of business ventures that generated extra income.
What’s the difference between the two?
Today’s dream is flawed in three ways:
- It is dependent on a good job being there. That’s less and less likely now that the gov’t is shrinking.
- The home you buy in the ‘burbs will cost you up to half of your job’s income to live there. Miss a couple of paychecks for whatever reason and you are deeply in the red.
- Your retirement account is based on speculation in uncertain markets about which you know almost nothing.
In contrast, the old dream gets you into a place where:
- IF you aren’t in a job, you are starting a business venture or improving your home’s productive value.
- Your home produces enough income or reduces your costs of living so much it costs nothing to live there.
- You invest your earnings in the things you know about. Your home. Local businesses. The businesses of people you believe in. Places where your actions can have a positive impact.