Trump Says American Dream Is Dead, Is He Right?

Posted April 25th, 2016 at 1:51 pm (UTC-4)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears on the NBC "Today" television program in New York , April 21, 2016. (AP Photo)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears on the NBC “Today” television program in New York , April 21, 2016. (AP Photo)

Donald Trump has famously declared that the American Dream is dead, but the majority of middle class Americans seem to disagree with the Republican presidential frontrunner.

Sixty-three percent of people surveyed earlier this year believe they are living the American Dream. That finding suggests American optimism hasn’t been a casualty of the recession, despite a report that says 90 percent of Americans are worse off today than they were in the 1970s.

While the income of the top 10 percent has skyrocketed, the rest of Americans are having to make do with less, according to the report from the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, which found that 90 percent of Americans are pretty much earning the same income or even less than they were 40 years ago.

Graphic from "Destabilizing an Unstable Economy" Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

Graphic from “Destabilizing an Unstable Economy” Levy Economics Institute of Bard College

That’s quite a change from the period beginning in the 1940s leading up to 1970s. During that time, real income — the goods and services people can afford today compared to the price of the same goods and services they could have bought in another time period — went up steadily for all Americans.

The widening income inequality gap over the last four decades can seriously affect the economy, according to the report’s authors.

“The transfer of income shares from the middle class and lower income households toward households at the top of the income distribution is a serious drag on demand,” the authors wrote, “since the saving rate of the latter is much higher than that of the former.”

The Red suggests the American dream is difficult for the average U.S. family with two children to attain today. The real estate website defines the costs of the American dream as including a mortgage, car payment, gas, utilities, food and water for a family of four, four inexpensive restaurant meals each month for the family, one movie for the family and one date night for the parents, with a three-course meal at a mid-priced restaurant.

“The average U.S. household earning a single average wage, or lower, cannot afford the classic American dream,” said Ashley Carlisle of “In fact, the annual average salary is about $10,000 away from reaching that goal and that doesn’t even include paying off other debts or investments like retirement or college.”

Annual wages of $62,348 are needed to achieve that dream but, in reality, the average American family brings in just $47,598, according to Carlisle.

“That just makes it very difficult, or even impossible, to live out the traditional definition of the dream,” she said. “It could suggest that the confines of the traditional American dream may evolve as new generations begin redefining what they consider living a rich and fulfilling life. It may differ from previous generations given these financial constraints.”

Despite the financial challenges, the majority of Americans still appear to subscribe to the inherent American belief that determination and hard work are the key to personal success, no matter the impact of economic conditions and government policies.

However, there might be a slight dent in that optimism. Despite believing they are living the American dream, 55 percent of Americans surveyed said “raising a family and making sure they have more opportunity than you did” is less achievable today.


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America’s Fastest-Shrinking Cities Have This in Common

Are Kids Really to Blame for Women Earning Less?

Does Bias Impact Price of US Ethnic Foods?

Why Asian-Americans Are the Most Educated Group in America





8 responses to “Trump Says American Dream Is Dead, Is He Right?”

  1. ali baba says:

    Trump is right The middle class is shrinking. drug problem is causing many people to loose their house and file for bankruptcy. many people have no money to pay their bill because most of their income wasted in drug. Mexican has not create this problem . undocumented aliens have not created that problem . the problem is created by liberal . liberal make it easier to get drug . then the problem add another problem until it is getting out of control. Family is broken. Children live in confusion . education is poor and the future is not good.

  2. Ahmad Sha Massoud says:

    Both Trump & Ali Baba are absolutely WRONG. When we say dead, its dead. We cannot resurrect the dead. American Dream is just wounded and time will heal wounds. Trump irresponsible notion is poisoning public opinion for political gains. American Dream will be back on its feet from injury.

  3. PermReader says:

    15 year of leftist economical politics created the corresponding result.But the “dream” continues,parallel to reality.

  4. Captain Courageous says:

    People like Trump ARE the problem. People like Hillary are the solution.
    If you plan to vote for Trump, be assured my vote for Hillary will negate
    your vote.

  5. koryom paul says:

    Trump,am asking you to feel calm ,you will win because you will use unwanted words like dead.than if you America dream is dead,why do you want to come up in that dead dream state? are you God to turn the dead dream I live? leave America a lone Man.

  6. david lulasa says:

    nothing lasts forever afterall,and when the american dream dies,it wont go with trump to its grave.

    the president USA

  7. Donald Fraser Miles says:

    Trump is a salesman or using such a salesman approach to politics. There is nothing essentially wrong with being a salesman. I was once a real estate broker and consider it essential to business to engage in effective marketing. However as with any profession or occupation good and bad behavior and practices exist. Trump is using sales techniques and psychology to sell himself. In real estate one sometimes would encounter a real estate agent who had bought his own real estate listing to sell it to others at a profit. To do that in Canada one had to disclose to the vendor that one was buying the property for purposes of reselling it. If one didn’t make such a disclosure of self-interest to the vendor one was guilty of an offence. In a similar manner Trump is pursuing a strategy of selling a position like a property to the American voters as though the American voters were the vendors or owners of the property on the argument of making their country and therefore them “great” without disclosing that the position he is taking and wants them to take is untenable in reality and will lead to their national ruin in the same way a salesman in securities might sell someone a flawed investment simply to get their commission. It is more self-evident in commerce that these dishonest advisories of stockbrokers for instance are in fact dishonest and illegal. Politicians don’t fall under the same legal accountability and scrutiny as stockbrokers or real estate brokers under the law in the nature of political arguments they can make. One needs to rely upon an educated and sensitive sense of what is actually happening or could happen when one interacts on money or political matters. Trump should be rejected at the polls in the same way one would decline and reject firmly the approach of a dishonest person of commerce.

  8. Carroll Price says:

    These statistics prove that the happiness and contentment of a population does not depend entirely on the accumulation of wealth. For that we should be thankful.

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