The American Dream remains elusive for many millions of adults of all ages. And those who struggle with near-poverty, with economic insecurity, those who are never more than a paycheck away from homelessness may find themselves living an American nightmare, a dream deferred. And all the while the gap is gap widening between the classes, rich and the poor. Increasingly, the people at the bottom are suffering horribly in the midst of the nation’s dream.

The disadvantaged should be the focus of economic reform. Where has the dream gone? Americans need to realize they could wake up in the nightmare themselves at any time.

We must eliminate firstly the racial barriers and improve social and ecomic status, particularly within the nation’s inner cities. The poverty line back in

An American flag

Rita M./flickr

1999 for a family of two was $11,060, a figure that did not come close to meeting basic needs. Today’s figure, $15,510, is even farther off, yet families are struggling to live at that level.

In Washington, D.C. joblessness continues to be the biggest problem. It is hurting people of all races but it is hitting minorities the hardest. The problem is the same in many other cities. For the past fifty years, the black unemployment rate has remained twice as high as the white unemployment rate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even when minorities find jobs, their incomes are likely to be far lower than those for whites.

Joblessness awaits our children in this country of the brave and the free. When planning for the future of this country, reforms for jobs and education should top President Obama’s list. A pain killer is needed to address the pain of poverty.

Before I end, I must ask this question. For the working poor, where would we be if we lost our jobs? The difficulty of our situation is always compounded by monthly bills like mortgage notes, mouths to feed, day care, utility payments and for some of us, the costs of keeping our children in school.

Where has the dream gone? You could just be 890 hours away from selling Street Sense yourself.

Looking for a job can be a fulltime job within itself. The money and time put into the business of bettering yourself can be costly.
But don’t give up the fight. The dream does not have to be a nightmare within this journey of homelessness and poverty.