The ‘American Dream’ starts at the top

I still believe in the American Dream. Even though the idea is battered, I still believe America is the land of opportunity. I’d sure rather be here where I am free to study what I want than in a communist country where I’d be told what I’m doing with my life.

I know that there is a large discrepancy between the rich and the poor here. But can you name a nation where there isn’t? I’d rather be poor here than poor in, say, Haiti, because here I have a chance to work my way up out of poverty. There are jobs here. There are grants and venture capital here. There are laws that protect our private property and prevent the tragedy of the commons.

Are the rich “bad guys” just because they are rich? What about trickle-down economics? Without big business, where would our jobs come from? According to the Small Business Administration, 0.3 percent of American businesses fall into the category of “big business,” and yet create a whopping 35 percent of all new jobs. They are also responsible for higher paying and more stable jobs, and without some kind of cash flow backing research, innovation in our country would come to a standstill.

Sure, they shouldn’t be above ethics because of the power and money they hold, but they shouldn’t be disbanded, either. Where would we be then? Most of the products we use every day would no longer be readily accessible if all big businesses shut down. I would personally rather not go back to an agrarian, subsistence society.

And just because the poor are poor doesn’t mean they have been victimized. Yes, there are many that have been born into disadvantaged homes, but that doesn’t entitle them to a handout from someone rich. If it did, then no one in our society would have the drive to make money because they’d just have to give it all away. We need the right to be rewarded for our own hard work.

I know that many families in poverty are minorities. But that doesn’t mean that America is racist. I know plenty of minority families who are very well off. Have you ever considered that correlation doesn’t imply causation? Maybe some of those minority families are in poverty because they don’t speak English, so it is harder for them to get higher paying jobs because they cannot communicate clearly.  Or maybe it’s the simple fact that minority families in general tend to have more children (according to the March 2002 U.S. Census), so they tend to stay in poverty.

I am personally thankful for the opportunity presented by living here and the “big business” that got my dad out of poverty. You see, he grew up in rural Eastern Kentucky, where coal mining was one of the most sought after and highest paid professions.  It was his coal mining job that helped him earn enough money to move away from that poverty-stricken area, and I am so glad I have been able to grow up in a better place and have had the opportunity to go to college, something that is a more difficult feat to achieve over there.

I still believe in the American Dream because my family is a prime example of it. And I am so thankful to live in a land of such opportunity.