I believe that we should keep in mind the ways in which large businesses and financial institutions enable many others to attain economic stability and security. For example, providing money to businesses may encourage them to hire more people, thereby increasing job opportunities. Just last year, President Obama presented a proposal, later passed by Congress, establishing a $33 billion tax credit to provide incentives for businesses to hire more workers and increase existing wages
THE AMERICAN DREAM 6 (Gomstyn, 2010). Increased support for Wall Street could in this way make the overall economy healthier so that everyone has increased opportunities. Some, however, argue that raising taxes on the rich and on America’s wealthy businesses is an effective means of closing the income gap. For New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, our economic problems are the result of bad policy decisions that have led to the rapid migration of American jobs overseas, the degradation of the American education system, and continuous costly wars. His primary point in a recent New York Times column was that America “does not have the common sense to raise taxes,” his solution to solving inequality issues and achieving greater economic security (2010). Robert Reich and Paul Krugman concur with Herbert’s analysis and recommend raising taxes (Krugman, 2007). My question for Herbert is, “Given the Great Recession and the tough economic climate that we continue to live in, would raising taxes still be the prudent thing to do?”Maybe Herbert believes that higher taxes for the rich would help solve the issue of inequality, but in reality, it would not help people achieve the American Dream at all. According to writer Dana Golden (2009), the more wealth the rich accumulate, the more they will spend it, thereby stimulating the economy. She also points out that the creation of wealth and its subsequent use is one way jobs are created, even in difficult economic times. Taxing the rich only decreases their spending potential and thus their ability to stimulate the economy. In contrast to Herbert’s bleak view, economist Cal Thomas
THE AMERICAN DREAM 7 responds to arguments about inequality issues by arguing that “The rules for achieving the American Dream may no longer be taught and supported by culture, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t work” (2010). Indeed, the media inundate us with countless images and stories of struggling workers and the growing ranks of the poor while suggesting that the American Dream is simply beyond the grasp of the vast majority of Americans. Thomas’s response is that only because of “unrestrained liberalism” are the true means of realizing the American Dream being more and more eroded in our society. Despite the recent recession, Thomas and others like him have faith that as long as people believe they have a chance of becoming better off than they are today, then the American Dream is intact. Instead of trying to interfere with the enterprise that creates jobs and growth, we should rely on the values of the American Dream: that anybody can climb out of hardship and achieve success. Only then will the American Dream remain alive for future generations.