Monday, February 23, 2015

poverty, education, government

In Bob Herbert's, a columnist for the New York Times, article "Hiding From Reality" he speaks of the dying economy in America and how our society is failing. Thousands upon thousands of people are losing their jobs, many of those being teachers. We used to make our education system a priority, and now it's suffering due to budget cuts, which includes letting go of several teachers. Herbert believes America is in denial about how much trouble our society is really in and the first step to fixing it is realizing it, and then we'll be able to solve it.
Cal Thomas, a panelist on Fox News Watch, responds to Herbert's article by writing that the government and politicians are to blame. He agrees with Herbert's take on our dysfunctional society, but says that people need to not rely on government officials, but on themselves on individuals. Relying on yourself individually will lead to a better life for yourself and our society will grow  into a better, more functional state than if we trust the government to handle everything for us.
Richard Wilkinson, a speaker for TEDGlobal, talks about economic inequality, and how its harming our society. Wilkinson goes on to explain that there are more social problems in countries with greater inequality. There are more murders and mental illness when there's less equality, along with more stress and less trust.
All these writers and speakers have the right idea, and it will take a combination of all these ideas to help our society and rebuild the American Dream. In America's society, we need to realize the importance of education which is a key factor in developing a functional society, as well as believing in ourselves as individuals more and showing more initiative. In doing all these things our main goal should be equality among the rich and the poor, and end poverty. If we combine all these ideals, we will create a more functional society and re-create the American Dream.


  1. Becca, I think you provided an excellent summarization both readings- “Hiding From Reality” by Bob Herbert and “Is the American Dream Over?” by Cal Thomas. You illustrated Herbert’s belief that American society and the whole concept of the American Dream was mostly dependent on America’s focus on education. Along with the declining economy, and overwhelming job loss that America has been experiencing, budget cuts in our public education system decrease the overall quality of our public education, and ultimately set the country up to fail. I also think that you gave a very accurate interpretation of Cal Thomas’s work. Thomas focused his argument on the extent of government involvement in our society. He claims that the government is to blame for the level of inequality and poverty in America and that in order to act against this inequality, we have to be able to think for ourselves, as individuals, and make active steps towards diminishing discrimination. I also completely agree with your idea that in order for American society to flourish, we need to focus our attention towards a combination of both Herbert and Thomas’ ideas. Our goal as a society should be to turn our attention towards education, and lessen the inequality between social classes. I completely support your claim that if we do in-fact combine these two ideals, education and equality, that society may be able to re-create the possibility of achieving the ‘American Dream’ as it was once existed.

  2. Becca, I like your argument of combining the ideals of both men to fix our society. However, i would argue for Cal Thomas, the author of, "Is the American Dream Over?" Cal Thomas focuses his argument on how the government is to blame for the society we live in today which i could not agree more on. On the other side, the author of, "Hiding From Reality", Bob Herbert, argues how the American Dream is no longer attainable because of the poor condition America is currently in. He says that our country is suffering in pretty much every aspect of the word. One thing i find strange though is how Herbert doesn't pin the blame for this "suffering" on anyone, which makes his argument fall through the cracks with no support or evidence. Cal Thomas puts majority of the blame on our government saying the american dream has been halted because of expanding, overtaxing, over spending and an over regulated government. He also argues that it is up to the individual to create the american dream for themselves by being good people, furthering your education, and staying away from harmful substances. The point is, that the american dream is still alive today.

  3. Summarizing your points, you seem to agree with both articles. In the first essay, “Hiding from Reality” you focus on his point that the education system is being severely damaged in the efforts to save the economy. It is true that teachers did and maybe still are unfortunately being let go by the dozens. But honestly Herbert focused a lot on blaming the government but he did not offer a realistic or useful strategy to help change the economy. With Cal Thomas’s essay, “Is the American Dream Over?“ you mentioned his points on how in order to achieve the American dream people need to not rely on the government but to rely on themeselves. I agreed with most of Thomas’s points because I do think many people spend too much time blaming the government for every rough patch in their life. I do agree that, yes, the government could change many things that would make a lot of people’s lives better, however government officials are not God, they are just normal people who have a little bit of power. Thomas also made a point about in order to achieve the American Dream that you should stay in school, don’t partake in harmful drugs, get married, get married before you have children, and stay married, and also save and invest your money so you can take care of yourself when you are older and don’t have to rely on others to take care of you. I could not agree with this statement more. Everyone lately has been saying that they wish things were like the olden days, well people need to start having the same morals as they use to if that is what they want.

  4. I like how you feel as though a combination of these arguments would be the best way to bring back the American Dream. If we did combine these factors maybe things would be able to unwind in a more respectful and more traditional way and go back to the true American Dream. Bob Herbert’s “Hiding From Reality” focuses on the education system and how its being run down due to budget cuts and the unemployment of many teachers. He thinks that no one realizes how bad our society has gotten and we need to start there to fix the American Dream. Cal Thomas on the other hand believes that the government is who we should blame for the failing Dream because of how much we rely on them for guidance. I feel as though a combination of all of these things would defiantly change the way we feel about the Dream. It would open plenty of different perspectives and it could just lead us in the right path but also show us many other ways that the Dream has changed in the years past. But I personally would push more toward the education level, I feel as though if the way we taught school we could change we could achieve higher status and we could learn on what to do after test and things that we honestly don’t need to know in our daily lives. If these things changed maybe we could be able to like you said re-create the American Dream.

  5. After reading your post and the two articles it seems like you are for and against both in different ways. You don't necessarily agree or disagree fully with either but think we should combine the two ideas. She mentions realizing the importance of education is must but also being more self-dependent would be beneficial. I agree with Becca because we as a country do need to establish more equality among our society. I don't completely agree these are the only ways to make that possible but it would definitely be start. If we want to get back to being anywhere near the original American Dream, I think we need a strong government. Yes we need to be self-dependent but at the same time that alone will not better our country. That is where the government should step in. We need leaders that point us in the best direction and hold us to higher standards, and along side that we should work on bettering ourselves. Also, I think creating an education like we’ve had in the past will help put our country back towards the top. Education seems to be lacking and that is no ones fault but our own. We let it slip and it has gotten out of control now. If the government were to step in and reinforce better education opportunities, I think all of our standards would be raised and we could get back to where we’ve been in the past.