Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


The Fading of the American Dream

First, let me introduce myself. I am a 28-year old immigrant from Poland. I moved to New York six years ago and I currently live in Brooklyn. I graduated from college six months ago, and I am about to change my job soon to finally start working in my field. In about nine months, I am planning to have -- no, not a baby yet, but a wedding. Then, after the wedding, I would like to have a baby.

There is a lot of planning ahead of me, but so it is for most of us. We all at some point in our lives graduate, move out and move in, look for a job, a house or a car, plan a family, etc. The life scenario is more or less the same for every generation.

Unfortunately, something is different this time. I am not as optimistic about the future as my parents were at my age. Due to the economical crisis, I am skeptical about the changes that are about to happen in my life. Will I save enough money to have a nice wedding? What will my money be worth in nine months, when I exchange them for Polish zlotys (have I not mentioned that I am making my wedding in Poland)? I remember that six years ago, the ratio of one dollar to one zloty was four to one, and now it is only two to one. Will I ever afford to travel again after I start a family and buy a house?

This coming elections will have a huge impact on my future. I will be watching closely if the new president stands up to the task and rescues not only the devastated economy, but social issues as well. In the next few years, I have to be sure I made the right decision coming to America. I want to see some serious changes in healthcare, education and housing. I do not want to start a family here knowing that my friends and family in the European Union have better, universal health insurance that covers all kinds of health related expenses including all prescription drugs and dental. There is also no such thing as a co-payment there. Young mothers do not have to face the choice between staying home with their child or rushing back to work just a few weeks after giving birth. They can enjoy paid maternity leave that, depending on the country lasts, from three to twelve months. I say, that is only fair.

Why is America losing in education and affordable housing as well? Why should not we have all privileges that citizens of the European Union have? What happened with an American dream that brought all of us immigrants here? What is our military power worth when the nation is facing a clouded future? Am I the only one who seriously consider moving overseas?


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