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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Mackayle Weedon
Mackayle Weedon
Social Media Editor

My name is Makaylee! I am going to be a senior majoring in Social Media Design Management. I am apart of the Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority chapter on campus! I love thrifting, photography, skiing and going...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

American Dream turns to nightmare

The house with a white picket fence was once the classic image of the American Dream. It used to be the ultimate material goal. But as time went on, the Dream included new cars, followed by a two-car garage. Then came a self-cleaning oven, a dishwasher and an ice machine in the door of the refrigerator. And now, added to that ever-growing list is an iPod, a television that takes up an entire wall in your home, the latest video game system, smart phones and, of course, a huge house in which to store all of these things.

It’s getting a lot harder to keep up with the Jones’s.

With a list that continues to grow, it’s no wonder the American Dream is beyond the reach of the average American. And it’s no wonder the people of this country have spent themselves into one of the worst recessions in recent history while trying to realize that Dream, and government spending in the last eight years hasn’t helped either.

One of the latest economic stories is that of insurance giant AIG, which paid out $165 million in bonuses to executives within the company. To date, the company has received more than $170 billion in stimulus dollars.

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The public outcry has been strong against AIG as a result. Most believe that the bonuses can be summed up as greedy people trying to grab hold of as much money as they can. And while that’s exactly what happened, it would be na’ve of the American public to think that kind of behavior is only displayed by top executives in big business.

Headline after headline has shown that people at the top of the economic ladder have been spending money unwisely for years. Private jets and massive bonuses have become a norm, and the title of CEO often brings with it the title of millionaire as well.

But that’s the new American Dream: excess. And everyone has been buying into it. To blame this recession solely on the people in big business and the banking system is unrealistic. It’s just as extravagant for a millionaire to want to own his own helicopter as it is for a person who makes $50,000 a year to want to own a new BMW.

The fact is, we are all complicit in this economic downturn. It wasn’t just the banks that offered the adjustable-rate mortgages, but the people that took them who are to blame for the housing market going under. We can’t keep blaming Wall Street for the woes of Main Street. It was partly our fault as well.

The problem is that people in this country are taught to live beyond their means. Monthly bills used to be things like heat, water and electricity. But now, we have to pay for digital television, high speed internet and credit cards, because these are no longer luxuries, but necessities.

We’ve lost sight of what we once held dear. Our vision of the house with the white picket fence has become obscured by too many other things. And now, with the economy crumbling, we’re going to have to recognize that the house and the fence are all we really needed anyway.

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