Restoring the American Dream
Mar 15, 2012Posted by Chuck Rocha
The American Dream is the defining product of our great country. It is what differentiates us from the rest of the world. It is thesimple but powerful philosophy that no matter what family you are born into or what economic situation you inherit, through hard work and determination you canachieve the American Dream.
The American Dream has been, is, and will continue to be rooted, in the success of the American workforce. The United States of America’s system of government is intended to equally serve its citizens and assist them in taking advantage of the amazing opportunities that the country has to offer. By doing so, the United States is able to ensure the creation of a large and diverse middle-class, making it unique among nations.
My grandfather came to the United States of America as an undocumented child while his family was in search of that American Dream. My grandfather accepted a job as a young man working on the railroad, and was able to build and maintain a family of 15 children who all went on to achieve their own version of the American Dream. My father, who worked in a tire-production factory in East Texas for over 25 years, was able to retire with a full pension and health care, and is now able to enjoy all of his grandchildren. I went to work in the same factory, and am now President of my own firm here in Washington D.C.
These are all personal examples of how the American Dream has worked. Unfortunately, more and more Americans are losing their chance at the American Dream because our government’s policies provide unfair advantages to a limited class of people.
When we lose our manufacturing base and stop investing in our infrastructure, all members of our economic community suffer. As American wages are reduced or completely eliminated, the American tax-base dramatically shrinks, having a profound effect on our school districts. It is these school districts that are the very backbone of the American Dream.
As school district budgets are reduced, schools are forced to eliminate staff and reduce student accommodations. Classroom sizes increase, and more and more students do not get the attention they deserve. Ultimately, this greatly undermines the number of opportunities for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.
As the tax-base decreases, it is not merely local and state governments that are forced to make difficult decisions. Our federal government also must address a diminishing revenue stream. Unfortunately, a common victim of budget shortfalls is education. Whether it is for Early Childhood Education, after-school programs, Special Education or student loan programs, education assistance and enhancement programs usually suffer the greatest. These programs, at their core, are designed to help level the playing field for children trying to achieve the American Dream. By systematically cutting resources to fund them, those most in need face yet another hurdle.
It is time to refocus our policy agenda on making the American Dream possible again for every child born into our great country. Future generations will keep America strong and healthy if they all have the same opportunity I had to chase the American Dream.The views expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for National Policy.
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