You have heard it as often as I have, the saying by Republicans that the American dream is only possible because of capitalism but this is a false equivalency and even the people who say this know it. The truth is that in the United States of America the American dream is not available to everyone and there are several barriers to those who want to create a better life for them and their families. The right says that everyone has a chance to build wealth and achieve the American dream but the evidence show that this is not the case at all. Barack Obama did his best to address this issue but the Republicans continued to fight him and oppose his efforts to raise wages and help the less fortunate and now the issue remains unsolved and more people fall through the cracks and either cannot get ahead or cannot stay there. He created so many millions of jobs and was known as the jobs president but with wages being stuck and the cost of living on the rise, it remains a problem.
We live in a country where 46.2 million people live in extreme poverty including millions of children and tens of thousands are homeless with so many more being one paycheck away from losing their housing and ending up on the streets. There are so many who lack he funds to eat for the entire month or pay for emergencies like medical care or a even a funeral for a loved one. They poor get called “lazy” but they are not, many work hard as over 40 million Americans work minimum wage jobs and do not make enough so they need extra help like food stamps or Medicaid, these people are not the “freeloaders” that those on the right call them. The sane is true with the millions who receive a disability check every month, they have it worse than those on minimum wage do, the average disability check is less than $1,200 a month and for many it is between $600-900 a month, nobody can live off that by themselves, let alone raise a family.
The Housing Wage is $18.79 an hour on average meaning that you need to make that to afford a place to live in many cities across this nation never mind money for food, medical care, clothing, and other things. The federal min wage is $7.25 an hour and the highest min wage is around $13.00 an hour, much less than what is needed to afford housing and the basic needs people need to live and survive. Now, how is someone supposed to afford these outrageous rents and the high cost of food by making so little? I know, they should “get a better job” or “Get an education”, that is what Republicans say anyway. The fact is that there are many who do have an education who still live under the federal poverty line and getting a new job isn’t always easy when you must keep working your current one to stay above water.
As far as school goes, what do people do who need to survive while they are in school? They need to get by and pay the bills somehow and a higher min wage would give them that opportunity to stay in college and make something of their life and get ahead. There are also millions of older adults who for whatever reason didn’t go to school when they were younger and now are trying to go back in their older years and need to still pay for their families so everyone gets by. They may have raised a family young and not had the chance to go to school or maybe they are changing careers, or even may have had made some bad choices like addiction or moving around. They are trying now to make positive changes in their lives and should have the opportunity to do so, they should be helped in any way possible to help them succeed, helping others is what this country should be about after all.
There are other things that prevent people from getting ahead like that very unnecessary requirement for people to register for Selective Service with the military and if they do not do so then they cannot get financial aid thus they remain stuck and cannot get ahead. They may not have known they were required to register or may have had a disability but either way they are prevented from going to school and changing their life because they do not have the funds to go to school. Republicans always say that aid is available to everyone but it is not as simple as that, there are roadblocks and hoops that people must jump through and at times this can e difficult. Now, if we make college either more affordable or free then we give people more opportunities to change their lives and get better jobs, thus getting out of poverty and able to join the middle class.
Income inequality is real and it isn’t just an issue that is about rich or poor but also there are gender gaps and even gaps between LGBT people and straight people, make no mistake about it. Women make less than men and so do LGBT people and even some minorities like black or Hispanic people. It is real and the worst part is that the GOP and their voters deny it exists just like they deny that sexism, racism, and homophobia is there, they do this because they do not care and do not want to come out and say that. The best way to end this income inequality is to acknowledge that it is there and then start paying people more money as well as having caps on how much people can be charged for goods and services.
I believe in a form of socialism, a form that helps people rather than hurt them and for no, it is not communism. I believe that if we are not going to raise wages then we must lower prices, this is common sense and also the right thing to do. People who oppose raising wages always lie and say that raising the minimum wage will raise prices but prices go up anyway, the way to fix this is to lower prices or have a system that is based on income rather than the free market. That is right, if you make a million dollars a year then you pay one percent of your income but if you make $10 an hour then that also would be the policy. This would allow businesses to still do well and make money while having an economic equality where everyone is able to have what they need and want.
I also believe in the government providing every man, woman, and child with the basic needs that all humans should have such as housing, food, medical care, clothing, etc. I believe if we are truly compassionate Christians than we must do this, it is the right thing to do . We cannot claim to be a nation that is about the American dream if we deny it to some while making it easier for the elite to accomplish. For a lot of minorities, people who live in low income areas, struggle with addiction, are mentally ill, have disabilities, or just were not raised by people who were able to mold them correctly the elusive American dream is not a possibility yet when those in right wing circles try to defend capitalism they say that it is available for everyone and I am here to tell you that is not true, it is only available for certain groups of people and we see that each and every day. The so-called American dream is this idea that everyone can have a business, a home with the beautiful spouse, kids, and a six-figure income but that is not the reality for millions of people all across this nation.
The estimates are that there are 6.15 million millionaires in this country and in a country of 300 million plus people that shows that the American dream is not a guarantee in capitalism. If it were then there would not be so many homeless people, people in debt, or millions on food stamps. They try to blame Obama and the left but the fact is this is not an issue that can be fixed by any president, it is an issue that must be fixed within us, we must change our values as a country. We have this attitude in America that “I got mine, you go and get yours, and the hell with everyone else”.
To end poverty as well as to end violence, and despair we must first start valuing our fellow man and a big start to that would be to end this income inequality and establish a system that is about helping others rather than helping ourselves. For us to get a great place we must end homelessness for everyone, make sure no citizen or visitor starves, nor anyone dies from the lack of medical care. I believe we can do this, if we are true to our Christian values we will do this but I suspect that many on the “Christian” right do not care about helping the less fortunate but rather just use religion to deny rights to Muslims, LGBT people, and others.
We can end income inequality and bring the poor up the level of the middle class and make sure everyone has their basic needs met. I know that we can do this and we can be truly great but as I walk down the streets of Portland, san Francisco, LA, Biloxi, or so many more cities I see a nation hurting and so many who are not living the American dream, they are living the American nightmare and they are ignored by those who are rich and have a nice life and that is not something Jesus would do. If you do not believe in God that is fine but if you do then step up and help these people, it doesn’t matter if they are a liberal, a conservative, or even an American but it matters that they are a human being and they need help. Trump says that he wants to “Put America First” yet he is okay with so many living in such conditions when his billions for the wall of hate would help these people as would the increase in military spending we are using to hurt people rather than help.
It is a FACT, raise incomes , educate people, lower prices and you end poverty and you thus end this income inequality that is tearing lives apart. It is beyond time for us to give every single person in this nation an opportunity to go after the American dream and make all of their dreams come true and it is our moment to make the lives of everyone who lives within the lines of the United States better and to do that we increase help for them, we give them opportunities, and we reach out our hand. When we do this and give everyone a chance to have he life they deserve as human beings then and only then will the United States of America be GREAT!